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The cover oj the Oct. 
1912 All-Story, w h i c h 
•was the first Tarzan il- 
lustration, and the first 
Tarzan Talc. 


A Romance </^Jundlt 


By Darrell C. Richardson 

TARZAN of the Apes first appeared as a novel in the October 1912 AU-Story Maga- 
zine. It was Edgar Rice Burroughs' second published story and the third tale he had 
ever written. Previously Under the Moons oj Mars had appeared serially in the same 
publication under the pseudonym Norman Bean. "Tarzan" was an immediate hit, and 
its publication in book form in 1914 started its author on the path to fame and fortune. 
Today Tarzan has established his durability and is more popular than ever. Through 
movies, radio, comic strip and television he has been introduced to a prodigious world- 
wide public. 291 newspapers in America bring Tarzan to 15,672,000 people; 28 foreign 
countries add millions more. There have been 364 Tarzan radio programs. 25 Tarzan 
movies have been made, featuring 10 movie Tarzans. Half a billion people have seen 
Tarzan on the screen. There have been 24 Tarzan books in all, with three more yet to 
be published. Even more popular with the fantasy reader is John Carter of Mars. Mil- 
lions of readers the world over think of Mars as the planet Barsoom, populated by 

(Concluded on inside back cover) 

September Issue 
est Sale Jeste 30 

•ENCHANTED VILLA GI (6,000 ntdi] A. I. ran vegt 6 

ATOMIC ERROR (400 w«ra>> Fori-..* 1. »ck™. II 

WISHIR TAKIS ALL (300 w.rdl) William r. Tempi, 20 

COLOSSUS II (17,000 worji) S. J. Byrne M 

THI JUSTICE Of MARTIN BRAND (39,000 w.rdl) «. H. Irwin 60 

WAY IN THE MIDDLE Of THI AIR (4.SO0 worde) Hay SraaDOry l« 




Ceres emtMt Hf Mskxnm Smut, 

Pvbliehed bi-evmftty By CRM Company, at 11*1 Aehtann Ayenne. Evonlon, llllnnh. 
Entered at rewnd-clois nurttar ot the Peel Office at tVanston, III. Additional entry at Chkaao, III. 
We tin not netept ntepaneibillry far Ae rettim of enrotkited manuKripte, pnetegraakt or artwork. 
CapyrlRM IPSO, Clark ryMMInn Company. 

■pwID YOU readers ever stop to 
j ) think how much drivel you've 
had to absorb against your will in 
editorials by editors who could put 
the natural gas companies out of busi- 
ness in short order if they'd only con- 
nect their typewriters to the end of 
the gas pipes that lead from the oil- 
fields? It seems that there is a good 
old American custom that every jerk 
who puts out a magazine has to foul 
up the first few pages of his publi- 
cation with what he calls an "editor- 
ial" but which is really only spilling 
bis guts, and he's got a lot of them! 

As a matter of fact, we've just fin- 
ished writing an editorial, and wound 
up by tearing it up and throwing it 
in the waste basket. Which, we admit, 
is where it belonged. 

Just what do you put in an editor- 
ial for a magazine called OTHER 
WORLDS1 It's an insult to the read- 
er's intelligence to list the stories for 
him and tell him just why each one 
is the most wonderful story he's ever 
read. He can judge that for himself. 
And it's stuffy to fill the editorial 
with scientific tripe picked up out of 
scientific journals and passed on with 
sanctimonious wisecracks about how 
"we told you so long before the scien- 
tists found It out." Now whatinell 
does that make as? Prophets — or just 
plain egotists looking for a pat on the 
back? We guess it's the latter. In the 
first place, we didn't know we were 
prophets until the scientists, with 
much labor, invented something close 
to what we'd dreamed up between 
plpefuts of opium. 

Then there** the old-time editorial 

in the small-town newspaper, where 
the editor crusades for law and order 
and gets foully murdered by the thugs 
and his blood clots the type so it 
can't be used without "soaking it in 
kerosene. However, those days are 
gone, and today when you spout 
about justice, you are only trying to 
prove why you should earn a living, 
and the other guy oughta starve if he 
isn't as smart as you think you are. 

Or, you could be a crackpot and 
try to remake the world. You could 
yell about how scientific knowledge 
is outstripping man's spiritual ad- 
vancement, and he's going to pulver- 
ize himself with the H-bomb. The 
inference to an argument like that is 
that we ought to scrap our scientific 
advancement and go back to covered 
wagons and horses. Or maybe put a 
"governor" on a scientist's mind so 
he can think only so fast. 

Or, we can collect quotes by both 
sides, like Einstein says the bomb 
will kill us all, and a purple-nosed 
general says the best defense is a 
good offense; all of which goes to 
prove ostriches after all have the 
best system — they get booted in the 
tail-feathers, but they haven't built 
up an advance neurosis worrying 
about It 

Your editor just doesn't know what 
an editorial is, so he generally uses 
this space to have fun. Trouble is, 
he sometimes isn't very funny. But 
when a guy falls fiat on his face in 
a mudpuddle, while carrying a stack 
of clean laundry, that's good for a 
terrific laugh. So, if we lay an egg 
with a gag, maybe even that comes 



under the heading of fun. 

Our editorial conclusion is that edi- 
torials aren't to be taken seriously, 
and considering the nitwits who write 
them, the reader ought to be condi- 
tioned to begin laughing automati- 
cally when he starts reading one. 

As a matter of illustrating what we 
mean, we refer to a dozen editorials 
we've just finished reading. Con- 
densed, the matter stands thusly: 

Each issue of every magazine has 
the best stories ever published in that 
magazine. The editor, because of his 
many years of close contact with the 
public, is fully qualified to testify 
that the public is public, and you can 
quote me. The human race cannot 
be going to the dogs, since it just 
went there. Ergo, we must be coming 
back from the dogs. When we get 
back front the dogs, we will go back 
to the dogs. Do you follow? Then 
you are a dog-follower. The principle 
of the H-bomb is not fully understood 
by the scientists, because they have 
neglected to proceed in an orderly 
manner. We begin with the A-bomb, 
but what happened to the B-bomb, 
the C-bomb, the D-bomb, the E- 
bomb, the F-bomb and the G-bomb? 
These fool scientists don't even know 
what comes after Al So what chance 
do they have to understand what a 
Null-A is? Our nest conclusion is that 
readers of science fiction are readers 
of science fiction, but science fiction 
need not be written for the adolescent 
mind, therefore, if written for the ma- 
ture mind, science fiction can be good 
literature, and what's more develop- 
ing to the mind than good literature? 
Which of course leads us to the con- 
clusion that something must be done 
to reprint some good literature in 
science fiction magazines. Accord- 

ingly we are reprinting all the old 
corn, and passing it off as a classic. 
In science fiction, a classic is a yarn 
everybody has read before, but which 
can be published without paying for 
it because the author was damfool 
enough to sell all rights. So, when he 
sees his story reprinted as a classic, 
without receiving a check, he will 
learn the hard way that he has been 
a fool and in the future he will be a 
wiser man and will turn out good 
literature instead of junk that editors 
can sneer at and buy all rights. It 
is a well-known fact that all editors 
recognize a terrific story when they 
see one, and reward the author ac- 
cordingly. That is why the idiot who 
bought the editor a beer gets three 
cents a word, while the incipient 
Hemingway gets rooked for a cent 
on a yarn that will be read long after 
the editor's tombstone reads: "There's 
always room at the top of the mast- 
head for somebody else if you can't 
sell magazines, fella!" 

All of which brings us to the only 
important part of this editorial, the 
part where we extend our sincere 
thanks to Ray Bradbury for giving 
us our chance to buy his Way in the 
Middle of the Air; and to A. E. van 
Vogt for his Enchanted Village, which 
we enjoyed very much; and to G. H. 
Irwin for a story about people who 
act like ordinary people and make 
us like them very much, even though 
under the same circumstances we'd 
funk out in terror. We appreciate, 
too, simple little yarns like William 
F. Temple's shortie; and S. J. Byrne's 
Colossus //, which is part of a novel 
he wrote that got away from him and 
became a word-colossus so big it had 
to be broken into three sections to 
publish. All we hope is you readers 
enjoy 'em as much as we did. Rap. 


XPLORERS of a new frontier 
, they had been called before 
they left for Mars. 

For a while after the ship crashed 
into a Martian desert, killing all on 
board except — miraculously — this one 
man, Bill Jenner spat the words oc- 
casionally into the constant, sand- 
laden wind. He despised himself for 
the pride he had felt when he first 
heard them. 

His fury faded with each mile that 
he walked, and his black grief for his 
friends became a gray ache. Slowly 
he realized that he had made a ruin- 
ous misjudgment. 

He had underestimated the speed 
at which the rocketship had been 
traveling. He'd guessed that he 
would have to walk three hundred 
miles to reach the shallow, Polar sea 
he and the others had observed as 
they glided in from outer space. Ac- 
tually, the ship must have flashed an 
immensely greater distance before it 
hurtled down out of control. 

The days stretched behind him, 
seemingly as numberless as the hot, 
red, alien sand that scorched through 
his tattered clothes. This huge scare- 
crow of a man kept moving across the 
endless, arid waste — He would not 
give up. 

By the time he came to the moun- 
tain, his food had long been gone. 
Of his four waterbags, only one re- 
mained; and that was so close to be- 
ing empty that he merely wet his 
cracked lips and swollen tongue when- 

ever his thirst became unbearable. 

Jenner climbed high before he re- 
alized that it was not just another 
dune that had barred his way. He 
paused, and as he gazed up at the 
mountain that towered above him, he 
cringed a little. For an instant, he 
felt the hopelessness of this mad race 
he was making to nowhere — but he 
reached the top. He saw that below 
him was a depression surrounded by 
hills as high or higher than the one 
on which he stood. Nestled in the 
valley they made was a village. 

He could see trees, and the marble 
floor of a courtyard. A score of build- 
ings were clustered around what 
seemed to be a central square. They 
were mostly low-constructed, but there 
were four towers pointing gracefully 
into the sky. They shone in the sun- 
light with a marble luster. 

Faintly, there came to Jenner's 
ears a thin, high-pitched whistling 
sound. It rose, fell, faded completely, 
then came up again clearly and un- 
pleasantly. Even as Jenner ran to- 
ward it, the noise grated on his ears, 
eerie and unnatural. 

He kept slipping on smooth rock, 
and bruised himself when he fell. He 
rolled halfway down into the valley. 
The buildings remained new and 
bright, when seen from nearby. Their 
walls flashed with reflections. On 
every side was vegetation — reddish- 
green shrubbery — yellow-green trees 
laden with purple and red fruit. 

With ravenous intent, Jenner head- 


The village had been deserted for 
ages, but it still had everything 
necessary to support life — Martian 
life . . . only Jenner was an Earthmaiu 

ed for the nearest fruit tree. Close 
up, the tree looked dry and brittle. 
The large red fruit he tore from the 
lowest branch however, was plump 
and juicy. 

As he lifted it to his mouth, he 
remembered that he bad been warned 
during his training period to taste 
nothing on Mars until it had been 

tUwfraiio* by 
Jon Arfitrom 



chemically examined. But that was 
meaningless advice to a man whose 
only chemical equipment was in his 
own body. 

Nevertheless, the possibility of 
danger made him cautious. He took 
his first bit gingerly. It was bitter 
to his tongue, and he spat it out hasti- 
ly. Some of the juice which re- 
mained in his mouth seared his gums. 
He felt the fire of it, and he reeled 
from nausea. His muscles began to 
jerk, and he lay down on the marble 
to keep himself from falling. After 
what seemed like hours to Jenner, the 
awful trembling finally went out of 
his body, and he could see again. He 
looked up despisingly at the tree. 

The pain finally left him, and slow- 
ly he relaxed. A soft breeze rustled 
the dry leaves. Nearby trees took 
up that gentle clamor, and it struck 
Jenner that the wind here in the 
valley was only a whisper of what it 
had been on the flat desert beyond 
the mountain. 

There was no other sound now. 
Jenner abruptly remembered the 
high-pitched, ever-changing whistle he 
had heard. He lay very still, listen- 
ing intently, but there was only the 
rustling of the leaves. The noisy 
shrilling had stopped. He wondered 
if it had been an alarm, to warn the 
villagers of his approach. 

Anxiously, he climbed to his feet 
and fumbled for his gun. A sense of 
disaster shocked through him. It 
wasn't there. His mind was a blank, 
and then he vaguely recalled that he 
had first missed the weapon more thaa 
a week before. He looked around him 

uneasily, but there was not a sign of 
creature life. He braced himself. He 
couldn't leave, as there was nowhere 
to go. If necessary, he would fight to 
the death to remain in the village. 

Carefully Jenner took a sip from 
his water bag, moistening his cracked 
lips and his swollen tongue. Then he 
replaced the cap, and started through 
a double line of trees toward the 
nearest building. He made a wide 
circle to observe it from several 
vantage points. On one side a low, 
broad archway opened into the in- 
terior. Through it, he could dimly 
make out the polished gleam of a 
marble floor. 

Jenner explored the buildings from 
the outside, always keeping a respect- 
ful distance between him and any of 
the entrances. He saw no sign of 
animal life. He reached the far side 
of the marble platform on which the 
village was built, and turned back 
decisively. It was time to explore 

He chose one of the four-tower 
buildings. As he came within a dozen 
feet of it, he saw that he would have 
to stoop low to get inside. 

Momentarily, the implications of 
that stopped him. These buildings 
had been constructed for a life form 
that must be very different from hu- 
man beings. 

He went forward again, bent down, 
and entered reluctantly, every muscle 

He found himself in a room with- 
out furniture. However, there were 
several low, marble fences projecting 
from one marble wall. They formed 
what looked like a group of four wide, 



low stalls. Each stall bad an open 
trough carved out of the floor. 

The second chamber was fitted 
with four inclined planes of marble, 
each of which slanted up to a dais. 
Altogether, there were four rooms on 
the lower floor. From one of them, a 
circular ramp mounted up, apparent- 
ly to a tower room. 

Jenner didn't investigate the up- 
stairs. The earlier fear that he would 
find alien life was yielding to the 
deadly conviction that he wouldn't. 
No life meant no food, nor chance of 
getting any. In frantic haste, he 
hurried from building to building, 
peering into the silent rooms, pausing 
now and then to shout hoarsely. 

Finally, there was no doubt. He 
was alone in a deserted village on a 
lifeless planet, without food, without 
water — except for the pitiful supply 
in his bag — and without hope. 

He was in the fourth and smallest 
room of one of the tower buildings 
when he realized that he had come 
to the end of his search. The room 
had a single "stall" jutting out from 
one wall. Wearily, Jenner lay down 
in it. He must have fallen asleep 

When he awoke, he became aware 
of two things, one right after the 
other. The first realization occurred 
before he opened his eyes — the 
whistling sound was back, high and 
shrill, it wavered at the threshold of 

The other was that a fine spray of 
liquid was being directed down at 
him from the ceiling. It had an odor, 
of which Technician Jenner took a 
single whiff. Quickly he scrambled 

out of the room, coughing, tears in 
his eyes, his face already burning 
from chemical reaction. 

He snatched his handkerchief and 
hastily wiped the exposed parts of 
his body and face. 

He reached the outside, and there 
paused, striving to understand what 
had happened. 

The village seemed unchanged. 

Leaves trembled in a gentle breeze. 
The sun was poised on a mountain 
peak. Jenner guessed from its posi- 
tion that it was morning again, and 
that he had slept at least a dozen 
hours. The glaring white light suf- 
fused the valley. Half hidden by 
trees and shrubbery, the buildings 
flashed and shimmered. 

He ?eemed to be in an oasis in a 
vast desert. It was an oasis all right, 
Jenner reflected grimly, but not for a 
human being. For him, with its poi- 
sonous fruit, it was more like a tan- 
talizing mirage. 

He went back inside the building, 
and cautiously peered into the room 
where he had slept. The spray of gas 
had stopped, not a bit of odor lin- 
gered, and the air was fresh and clean. 

He edged over the threshold, half- 
inclined to make a test. He bad a 
picture in his mind of a long dead 
Martian creature lazing on the floor 
in the "stall" while a soothing chemi- 
cal sprayed down on its oody. The 
fact that the chemical was deadly to 
human beings merely emphasized how 
alien to man was the life that had 
spawned on Mars. But there seemed 
little doubt of the reason for the gas. 
The creature was accustomed to tak- 



ing a morning shower. 

Inside the "bathroom," Jenner 
eased himself feet first into the stall. 
As his hips came level with the stall 
entrance, the solid ceiling sprayed a 
jet of yellowish gas straight down 
upon his legs. Hastily, Jenner pulled 
himself clear of the stall. The gas 
stopped as suddenly as it had started. 

He tried it again, to make sure it 
was merely an automatic process. It 
turned on, then it shut off. 

Jenner's thirst-puffed Hps parted 
with excitement. He thought, H If 
there can be one automatic process, 
there may be others." 

Breathing heavily, he raced into 
the outer room. Carefully he shoved 
his legs into one of the two stalls. 
The moment his hips were in, a 
steaming gruel filled the trough be- 
side the wall. 

He stared at the greasy looking 
stuff with a horrified fascination — 
food — and drink. He remembered 
the poison fruit, and felt repelled, but 
he forced himself to bend down, and 
put his finger into the hot, wet sub- 
stance. He brought it up, dripping, 
to his mouth. 

It tasted flat and pulpy, like boiled 
wood fiber. It trickled viscously into 
his throat. His eyes began to water, 
and his lips drew back convulsively. 
He realized he was going to be sick, 
and ran for the outer door — but didn't 
quite make it. 

When he finally got outside, he 
felt limp and unutterably listless. In 
that depressed state of mind, he grew 
aware again of the shrill sound. 

He felt amazed that he could have 
ignored its rasping even for a few 

minutes. Sharply, be glanced about, 
trying to determine its source, but it 
seemed to have none. Whenever he 
approached a point where it appeared 
to be loudest, then it would fade, or 
shift, perhaps to the far side of the 

He tried to imagine what an alien 
culture would want with a mind- 
shattering noise — although, of course, 
it would not necessarily have been 
unpleasant to them. 

He stopped, and snapped his fingers 
as a wild but nevertheless plausible 
notion entered his mind. Could this 
be music? 

He toyed with the idea, trying to 
visualize the village as it had been 
long ago. Here, a music-loving race 
had possibly gone about its daily 
tasks to the accompaniment of what 
was to them beautiful strains of 

The hideous whistling went on and 
on, waxing and waning. Jenner tried 
to put buildings between himself and 
the sound. He sought refuge in vari- 
ous rooms, hoping that at least one 
would be sound-proof. None were. 
The whistle followed him wherever he 

He retreated into the desert, and 
had to climb halfway up one of the 
slopes before the noise was low 
enough not to disturb him. Finally, 
breathless but immeasurably relieved, 
he sank down on the sand, and 
thought blankly; 

What now? 

The scene that spread before him 
had in it qualities of both heaven 
and hell. It was all too familiar now 



— the red sands, the stony dunes, the 
small, alien village promising so much 
and fulfilling so little. 

Jenner looked down at it with his 
feverish eyes, and ran his parched 
tongue over his cracked, dry lips. He 
knew that he was a dead man unless 
he could alter the automatic food- 
making machines that must be hid- 
den somewhere in the walls and un- 
der the floors of the buildings. 

In ancient days, a remnant of 
Martian civilization had survived 
here in this village. The inhabitants 
had died off but the village lived on, 
keeping itself clean of sand, able to 
provide refuge for any Martian who 
might come along. But there were 
no Martians. There was only Bill 
Jenner, pilot of the first rocketship 
ever to land on Mars. 

He had to make the village turn 
out food and drink that he could 
take. Without tools, except his hands; 
with scarcely any knowledge of chem- 
istry, he must force it to change its 

Tensely, he hefted his water bag. 
He took another sip, and fought the 
same grim fight to prevent himself 
from guzzling it down to the last 
drop. And, when he had won the 
battle once more, he stood up and 
started down the slope. 

He could last, he estimated, not 
more than three days. In that time, 
he must conquer the village. 

He was already among the trees 
when it suddenly struck him that the 
"music" had stopped. Relieved, he 
bent over a small shrub, took a good, 
firm hold of it — and pulled. 

It came up easily, and there was 

a slab of marble attached to it. 
Jenner stared at it, noting with sur- 
prise that he had been mistaken in 
thinking the stalk came up through 
a hole in the marble. It was merely 
stuck to the surface. Then he noticed 
something else — the shrub had no 
roots. Almost instinctively, Jenner 
looked down at the spot from which 
he had torn the slab of marble along 
with the plant. There was sand there. 

He dropped the shrub, slipped to 
his knees, and plunged his fingers into 
the sand. Loose sand trickled through 
them. He reached deep, using all his 
strength to force his arm and hand 
down — sand — nothing but sand. 

He stood up, and frantically tore 
up another shrub. It also came easi- 
ly, bringing with it a slab of marble. 
It had no roots, and where it had 
been was sand. 

With a kind of mindless disbelief, 
Jenner rushed over to a fruit tree, 
and shoved at it. There was a mo- 
mentary resistance, and then the 
marble on which it stood split, and 
lifted slowly into the air. The tree 
fell over with a swish and a crackle 
as its dry branches and leaves broke 
and crumbled in a thousand pieces. 
Underneath where it had been, was 

Sand everywhere. A city built on 
sand. Mars, planet of sand. That was 
not completely true, of course. Sea- 
sonal vegetation had been observed 
near the polar icecaps. All but the 
hardiest of it died with tke coming 
of summer. It had been intended that 
the rocketship land near one of those 
shallow, tideless seas. 

By coming down out of control, th« j 



ship bad wrecked more than itself. 
It had wrecked the chances for life 
of the only survivor of the voyage. 

Tenner came slowly out of his daze. 
He had a thought then. He picked 
up one of the shrubs he had already 
torn loose, braced his foot against the 
marble to which it was attached and 
tugged, gently at first, then with in- 
creasing strength. 

I came loose finally, but there was 
no doubt that the two were part of a 
whole. The shrub was growing out of 
the marble. 

Marble? Jenner knelt beside one of 
the holes from which he had torn a 
slab, and bent over an adjoining sec- 
tion. It was quite porous— calciferous 
rock, most likely, but not true marble 
at all. As he reached toward it, in- 
tend! ^ to break off a piece, it 
changed color. Astounded, Jenner 
drew back. Around the break, the 
stone was turning a bright orange- 
yellow. He studied it uncertainly, 
then tentatively he touched it. 

It was as if he had dipped his 
fingers into searing acid. There was 
a sharp, biting, burning pain. With a 
gasp, Jenner jerked his hand clear. 

The continuing anguish made him 
feel faint. He swayed and moaned, 
clutching the bruised members to his 
body. When the agony finally faded, 
and he could look at the injury, he 
saw that the skin had peeled, and 
that already blood blisters had form- 
ed. Grimly, Jenner looked down at 
the break in the stone. The edges re- 
mained bright orange-yellow. 

The village was alert, ready to de- 
fend itself from further attack*. 

Suddenly weary, he crawled into 
the shade of a tree. There was only 
one possible conclusion to draw from 
what had happened, and it almost de- 
fied common sense. This lonely vil- 
lage was alive. 

As he lay there, Jenner tried to 
imagine a great mass of living sub- 
stance growing into the shape of 
buildings, adjusting itself to suit an- 
other life form, accepting the role of 
servant in the widest meaning of the 

If it would serve one race, why 
not another? If it could adjust to 
Martians, why not to human beings? 

There would be difficulties, of 
course. He guessed wearily that es- 
sential elements would not be avail- 
able. The oxygen for water could 
come from the air . . . thousands of 
compounds could be made from sand 

though it meant death if he failed 

to find a solution, he fell asleep even 
as he started to think about what 
they might be. 

When he awoke, it was quite dark. 

Jenner climbed heavily to his feet. 
There was a drag to his muscles that 
alarmed him. He wet his mouth from 
his water bag, and staggered toward 
the entrance of the nearest building. 
Except for the scraping of his shoes 
on the "marble," the silence was in- 

He stopped short — listened, and 
looked. The wind had died away. 
He couldn't see the mountains that 
rimmed the valley, but the buildings 
were still dimly visible, black shadows 
m a shadow world. 

For the first time, k leemed to him 



that, in spite of his new hope, it might 
be better if he died. Even if he 
survived, what had he to look forward 
to? Only too well he recalled how 
hard it had been to rouse interest in 
the trip, and to raise the large amount 
of money required. He remembered 
the colossal problems that had had 
to be solved in building the ship, and 
some of the men who had solved them 
were buried somewhere in the Mar- 
tian desert. 

It might be twenty years before 
another ship from Earth would try to 
reach the only other planet in the 
solar system that had shown signs of 
being able to support life. 

During those uncountable days and 
nights, those years, he would be here 
alone. That was the most he could 
hope for — if he lived. As he fumbled 
his way to a dais in one of the rooms, 
Jenner considered another problem: 

How did one let a living village 
know that it must alter its processes? 
In a way, it must already have 
grasped that it had a new tenant. 
How could he make it realize he 
needed food in a different chemical 
combination than that which it had 
served in the past; that he liked 
music, but on a different scale sys- 
tem ; and that he could use a shower 
each morning — of water, not of poi- 
son gas? 

He dozed fitfully, like a man who 
is sick rather than sleepy. Twice, he 
wakened, his lips on fire, his eyes 
burning, his body bathed in perspira- 
tion. Several times he was startled 
into consciousness by the sound of his 
own harsh voice crying out in anger 
and fear at the night 

He guessed, then, that he was dy- 

He spent the long hours of dark- 
ness tossing, turning, twisting, be- 
fuddled by waves of heat. As the light 
of morning came, he was vaguely sur- 
prised to realize that he was still 
alive. Restlessly, he climbed off the 
dais, and went to the door. 

A bitingly cold wind blew, but it 
felt good to his hot face. He won- 
dered if there was enough pneumo- 
coccus in his blood for him to catch 
pneumonia. He decided not. 

In a few moments he was shivering. 
He retreated back into the house, and 
for the first time noticed that, despite 
the doorless doorway, the wind did 
not come into the building at all. The 
rooms were cold, but not draughty. 

That started an association : Where 
had his terrible body heat come from? 
He teetered over to the dais where 
he had spent the night. Within sec- 
onds, he was sweltering in a tempera- 
ture of about a hundred and thirty. 

He climbed off the dais, shaken by 
his own stupidity. He estimated that 
he had sweated at least two quarts 
of moisture out of his dried-up body 
on that furnace of a bed. 

This village was not for human be- 
ings. Here, even the beds were heated 
for creatures who needed tempera- 
tures far beyond the heat comfortable 
for men. 

Jenner spent most of the day in the 
shade of a large tree. He felt ex- 
hausted, and only occasionally did he 
even remember that he had a prob- 
lem. When the whistling started, it 
bothered him at first l but he was too 



tired to move away from it. There 
were long periods when he hardly 
heard it, so dulled were his senses. 

Late in the afternoon, he remem- 
bered the shrubs and the tree he had 
torn up the day before, and won- 
dered what had happened to them. 
He wet his swollen tongue with the 
last few drops of water in his bag, 
climbed lackadaisically to his feet, 
and went to look for the dried-up re- 

There weren't any. He couldn't 
even find the holes where he had 
torn them out. The living village had 
absorbed the dead tissue into itself, 
and repaired the breaks in its "body." 

That galvanized Jenner. He be- 
gan to think again . . . about muta- 
tions a genetic readjustment, life 
forms adapting to new environments. 
There'd been lectures on that before 
the ship left Earth, rather generalized 
talks designed to acquaint the ex- 
plorers with the problems men might 
face on an alien planet. The impor- 
tant principle was quite simple: ad- 
just or die. 

The village had to adjust to him. 
He doubted if he could seriously 
damage it, but he could try. His own 
need to survive must be placed on 
as sharp and hostile a basis as that. 

Frantically, Jenner began to search 
his pockets. Before leaving the rocket, 
he had loaded himself with odds and 
ends of small equipment. A jack- 
knife, a folding metal cup, a printed 
radio, a tiny super-battery that could 
be charged by spinning an attached 
wheel — and for which he had brought 
along, among other things, a power- 
ful electric fire lighter. 

Jenner plugged the lighter into the 
battery, and deliberately scraped the 
red-hot end along the surface of the 
"marble." The reaction was swift 
The substance turned an angry pur- 
ple this time. When an entire section 
of the floor had changed color, Jenner 
headed for the nearest stall trough, 
entering far enough to activate it. 

There was a noticeable delay. 
When the food finally flowed into the 
trough, it was clear that the living 
village had realized the reason for 
what he had done. The food was a 
pale, creamy color, where earlier it 
had been a murky gray. 

Jenner put his finger into it, but 
withdrew it with a yell, and wiped 
his finger. It continued to sting for 
several moments. The vital question 
was: had it deliberately offered him 
food that would damage him, or was 
it trying to appease him without 
knowing what he could eat? 

He decided to give it another 
chance, and entered the adjoining 
stall. The gritty stuff that flooded 
up this time was yellower. It didn't 
bum his finger, but Jenner took one 
taste, and spat it out. He had the 
feeling that he had been offered a 
soup made of a greasy mixture of 
clay and gasoline. 

He was thirsty now with a need 
heightened by the unpleasant taste 
in his mouth. Desperately, he rushed 
outside and tore open the water bag, 
seeking the wetness Inside. In his 
fumbling eagerness, he spilled a few 
precious drops onto the courtyard. 
Down he went on bis face, and licked 
them up. 



Half a minute later, he was still 
licking, and there was still water. 

The fact penetrated suddenly. He 
raised himself, and gazed wondering- 
ly at the droplets of water that spar- 
kled cn the smooth stone. As he 
watched, another one squeezed up 
from the apparently solid surface, 
and shimmered in the light of the 
sinking sun. 

He bent, and with the tip of his 
tongue sponged up each visible drop. 
For a long time, he lay with his mouth 
pressed to the "marble," sucking up 
the tiny bits of water that the village 
doled out to him. 

The glowing white sun disappeared 
behind a hill. Night fell, like the 
dropping of a black screen. The air 
turned cold, then icy. He shivered 
as the wind keened through his ragged 
clothes. But what finally stopped him 
was the collapse of the surface from 
which he had been drinking. 

Jenner lifted himself in surprise, 
and in the darkness gingerly felt over 
the stone. It had genuinely crum- 
bled. Evidently the substance had 
yielded up its available water and had 
disintegrated in the process. Jenner 
estimated that he had drunk alto- 
gether an ounce of water. 

It was a convincing demonstration 
of the willingness of the village to 
please him, but there was another, 
less satisfying implication. If the 
village had to destroy a part of itself 
every time it gave him a drink, then 
clearly the supply was not unlimited. 

Jenner hurried inside the nearest 
building, climbed onto a dais — and 
climbed off again hastily, as the heat 
blazed up at him. He waited, to give 

the Intelligence a chance to realize 
he wanted a change, then lay down 
once more. The heat was as great as 

He gave that up because he was 
too tired to persist, and too sleepy 
to think of a method that might let 
the village know he needed a different 
bedroom temperature. He slept on 
the floor with an uneasy conviction 
that it could not sustain him for long. 
He woke up many times during the 
night, and thought: "Not enough 
water. No matter how hard it 
tries — " then he would sleep again, 
only to wake once more, tense and 

Nevertheless, morning found him 
briefly alert; and all his steely de- 
termination was back — that iron will- 
power that had brought him at least 
five hundred miles across an unknown 

He headed for the nearest trough. 
This time, after he had activated it, 
there was a pause of more than a 
minute; and then about a thimbleful 
of water made a wet splotch at the 

Jenner licked it dry, then waited 
hopefully for more. When none came, 
he reflected gloomily that somewhere 
in the village, an entire group of cells 
had broken down and released their 
water for him. 

Then and there he decided that it 
was up to the human being, who 
could move around, to find a new 
source of water for the village, which 
could not move. 

In the interim, of course, the village 
would have to keep him alive, until 
he had investigated the possibilities. 


That meant, above everything else, 
he must have some food to sustain 
him while he looked around. 

He began to search his pockets. 
Toward the end of his food supply, 
he had carried scraps and pieces 
wrapped in small bits of cloth. 
Crumbs had broken off into the pock- 
et and he had searched often during 
those long days in the desert. Now 
by actually ripping the seams, he 
discovered tiny particles of meat and 
bread, little bits of grease and other 
unidentifiable substances. 

Carefully, he leaned over the ad- 
joining stall, and placed the scrap- 
ings in the trough there. The village 
would not be able to offer him more 
than a reasonable facsimile. If the 
spilling of a few drops on the court- 
yard could make it aware of his need 
for water, then a similar offering 
might give it the clue it needed as to 
the chemical nature of the food he 
could eat. 

Jenner waited, then entered the 
second stall and activated it. About 
a pint of thick, creamy substance 
trickled into the bottom of the trough. 
The smallness of the quantity seemed 
evidence that perhaps it contained 

He tasted it. It had a sharp, musty 
flavor, and a stale odor. It was al- 
most as dry as flour — but his stomach 
did not reject it. 

Jenner ate slowly, acutely aware 
that at such moments as this the 
village had him at its mercy. He 
could never be sure that one of the 
food ingredients was not a slow acting 

When he had finished the meal, 
he went to a food trough in another 
building. He refused to eat the food 
that came up, but activated still an- 
other trough. This time he received a 
few drops of water. 

He had come purposefully to one 
of the tower buildings. Now, he 
started up the ramp that led to the 
upper floor. He paused only briefly 
in the room he came to, as he had 
already discovered that they seemed 
to be additional bedrooms. The fa- 
miliar dais was there in a group of 

What interested him was that the 
circular ramp continued to wind on 
upward. First, to another, smaller 
room that seemed to have no par- 
ticular reason for being. Then it 
wound on up to the top of the tower, 
some seventy feet above the ground. 
It was high enough for him to see be- 
yond the rim of all the surrounding 
hilltops. He had thought it might be, 
but he had been too weak to make 
the climb before. Now, he looked out 
to every horizon. Almost immediate- 
ly, the hope that had brought him 
up, faded. 

The view was immeasurably deso- 
late. As far as he could see was an 
arid waste, and every horizon was 
hidden in a mist of wind-blown sand. 

Jenner gazed with a sense of des- 
pair. If there was a Martian sea out 
there somewhere, it was beyond his 

Abruptly, he clenched his hands in 
anger against his fate, which seemed 
inevitable now. At the very worst, he 
had hoped he would find himself in 
a mountainous region. Seas and 



mountains were generally the two 
main sources of water. He should 
have known, of course, that there 
were very few mountains on Mars. 
It would have been a wild coincidence 
if he had actually run into a moun- 
tain range. 

His fury faded, because he lacked 
the strength to sustain any emotion. 
Numbly, he went down the ramp. 

His vague plan to help the village 
ended as swiftly and finally as that. 

The days drifted by, but as to 
how many he had no idea. Each 
time he went to eat, a smaller amount 
of water was doled out to him. Jen- 
ner kept telling himself that each 
meal would have to be his last. It 
was unreasonable for him to expect 
the village to destroy itself when his 
fate was certain now. 

What was worse, it became in- 
creasingly clear that the food was 
not good for him. He had misled the 
village as to his needs by giving it 
stale, perhaps even tainted samples, 
and prolonged the agony for himself. 
At times after he had eaten, Jenner 
felt dizzy for hours. AH too frequent- 
ly, his head ached, and his body 
shivered with fever. 

The village was doing what it 
could. The rest was up to him, and 
he couldn't even adjust to an ap- 
proximation of Earth food. 

For two days, he was too sick to 
drag himself to one of the troughs. 
Hour after hour, he lay on the floor. 
Some time during the second night, 
the pain in his body grew so terrible 
that he finally made up his mind. 

"If I can get to a dais/' he told 

himself, "the heat alone will kill me; 
and in absorbing my body, the village 
will get back some of its lost water. 

He spent at least an hour crawling 
laboriously up the ramp of the near- 
est dais, and when he finally made it, 
he lay as one already dead. His 
last waking thought was: "Beloved 
friends, I'm coming." 

The hallucination was so complete 
that, momentarily, he seemed to be 
back in the control room of the 
rocketship, and all around him were 
his former companions. 

With a sigh of relief, Jenner sank, 
into a dreamless sleep. 

He woke to the sound of a violin. 
It was a sad-sweet music that told 
of the rise and fall of a race long dead. 

Jenner listened for a while, and 
then with abrupt excitement realized 
the truth. This was a substitute for 
the whistling — the village had ad- 
justed its music to himl 

Other sensory phenomena stole in 
upon him. The dais felt comfortably 
warm, not hot at all. He had a feel- 
ing of wonderful physical well-being. 

Eagerly, he scrambled down the 
ramp to the nearest food stall. As he 
crawled forward, his nose close to the 
floor, the trough filled with a steamy 
mixture. The odor was so rich and 
pleasant that he plunged his face 
into it, and slopped it up greedily. 
It had the flavor of thick, meaty soup, 
and was warm and soothmg to his 
lips and mouth. When he 'had eaten 
it all, he did not need a drink of 
water for the first time. 

"I've wont" thought Jenner, "The 
village has found a way!* 



After a while, be remembered some- 
thing, and crawled to the bathroom. 
Cautiously, watching the ceiling, he 
eased himself backward into the 
shower stall. The yellowish spray 
came down, cool and delightful. 

Ecstatically, Jenner wriggled his 

four-foot tail, and, Bfted his long 
snout to let the thin streams of liquid 
wash away the food impurities that 
dung to bis sharp teeth. 

Then he waddled out to bask In the 
sun, and listen to the timeless music. 





Here is a little storyette which was written In 
a humorous vein, but taken In the light of the 
prospect of a super-destructive hydrogen bomb 
and its threat to civilization. It may not 
be quite to funny after all Is said and done. 

JUwMtfw* h )<*» Affitnm 

HE WOKE UP screaming. He 
felt scalded all over. So this 
was what radiation burn from 
an atomic bomb felt like! 

He had feared this night since 
1945 — this night when a robot rocket 
would jet over the North Pole at 
supersonic speed; the night that an 
unknown assassin nation would mas- 
sacre America a-bed ; that atomic 
conflagration would transform the 
metropolises of the United States into 
skyscraping mushroom clouds. 

He had hoped only that oblitera- 
tion would come instantaneously and 

painlessly, that he would be volatized 
in his dreams, either to awake in the 
Hereafter, where there theoretically 
were no atomic bombs, or — never to 

But there was always the unface- 
able possibility that he would be 
caught on the fringe of the fission; 
then God knew what death would be 
like. Not a ripping asunder too rapid 
for the senses to record, but a slow 
death: A peeling away of the skin in 
leprous patches; a brain fried in its 
skull, shriveled and convulsed like 
worms writhing in a fiery skillet; eyes 



liquefying and oozing out of their 
sockets like sap from a tree. 

The man knew himself: Not a 
coward, but a cerebrotonic — super- 
sensitive to the thought of pain. A 
thousand times he had suffered pre- 
mature agony, envisioning his life 
ending in an atomic cauldron of radi- 
ation, his body burning in waves of 
invisible fire. He couldn't take a 
death like that. That was why he 
protected himself with an automatic. 
He always slept with it under his 
pillow. He reached for it now. 

Pray God the radiation had not 
warped it, melted the barrel or ex- 
ploded the cartridges! 

In the darkness he groped. He 
couldn't see. He couldn't hear a 
sound. He was conscious only of the 
prickling sensation ail over his body. 

His fingers found the gun. It wag 
hot. In terror mixed with relief he 
jerked it to his temple. 

"Now what could have made him 
do that?" the fire chief puzzled. **He 
wasn't in any danger. The steam 
didnt even really scald him to 
amount to anything. He might have 
been a little dazed — anybody'd be 
shocked, sure, to have a boiler blow 
up underneath 'em in the middle of 
the night — but I called to him, 
'You're okay, Mister,' just a second 
before he fished under his pillow for 
the pistol." 

"Poor Mr. Vance." The hotel man- 
ager shook his head regretfully. "He 
was born deaf, and on top of that lost 
his sight about two years ago." 


Ittmtfotio* hi tiMWH Be* 




If you ever meet a fairy , and are granted a 
wish, don't try to be clever -you might very 
easily outsmart yourself , . , and get nothing! 

BRIGGS swept out under the 
glassware counter, where he 
had not swept for many a day. 
Something like a tinsel-adorned 
Christmas-tree fairy came tumbling 
out with the dust. Only she picked 
herself up and dusted off her wings, 
which a Christmas-tree fairy would 
hardly do. 

"Hello," said Briggs. "What are 
you — animal, vegetable, or mineral?" 

"I'm a fairy," said the fairy. "Hi- 
bernating. We're pretty rare, you 
know. Incidentally, before I get back 
to sleep, would you like three 
"How much?" asked Briggs. 
"Quite free. We're not allowed to 

"Okay, fire away," said Briggs 

"Well, what's your first wish?" 

"I wish I had a hundred wishes," 
said Briggs. 

"What?" said the fairy faintly. 

"You can keep the change — I mean 
the other two wishes. Don't believe in 
putting too keen an edge on busi- 
ness," said Briggs generously. 

"That's nice of you. Oh, well, start 
wishing. . . 

"My first wish is for larger business 
premises. My second wish is for per- 

fect and lasting health. My third 
wish. . . ." 

Presently: "Your ninety - ninth 
wish?" asked the fairy exhaustedly. 

"Um ... I wish I could always 
know what the other guy's got in his 

"Granted. And your last wish?* 

"I wish I had another hundred 

The fairy reeled. 

"Really!" she protested. "Is that 
your idea of fair business? You should 
realize it's hard work for me. I've 
made you the strongest man in the 
world, the best pitcher, the best pool 
player. You can play the piano, the 
piccolo, the trumpet, the zither. Your 
corns are gone. And you are the rich- 
est man in the world — all that jug- 
gling with currency takes it out of 
one, you know." 

"Yes, I understand," said Briggs, 
soothingly. "I feel pretty mean about 
it, in a way. I wish I could give 
you a wish or something." 

He stopped, realizing. 

"Thanks a lot," said the fairy 
quickly, and quite brightened up. 
"I'll grant you that wish. You're a 
nasty man. I wish I'd" never met 

Nor had she. 



By S. J. Byrne 

In the catacombs of Berlin, the 
Nameless Ones plotted a new 
war to overthrow all the world 
— but they faced the gathering 
might of the men from Under- 
ground Agarthi and the Moon. 

THE TAXI squeezed through 
Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse and 
turned right on Horst Wessel 
into Prenzlauer, on its way to 
Weissensee. Janice Maine looked for- 
ward with some anxiety to the re- 
union with her father. 


In the catacombs of Berlin, the 
Nameless Ones plotted a new 
war to overthrow all the world 
— but they faced the gathering 
might of the men from Under- 
ground Agarthi and the Moon. 

THE TAXI squeezed through 
Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse and 
turned right on Horst WesseL 
into Prenzlauer, on its way to 
Weissensee. Janice Maine looked for- 
ward with some anxiety to the re- 
union with her father. Strangely, 


W*stf0/e4 by Bill Ttty 

though, her father had not requested 
to speak to her on the visiphone, nor 
had he given instructions for her to 
wait at the airport for his town car. 
They had merely issued her a spe- 
cial, diplomatic permit and she had 
gone through customs practically in 

routine fashion. After five years of 
not seeing her, his only daughter, 
who had cared for him almost like 
a wife ever since her motfier died, 
to hear from her should Have pro- 
duced an unusual response from him. 
But there was nothing — only the en- 


W*st*Me4 by Bili Tttf 

though, her father had not requested 
to speak to her on the visiphone, nor 
had he given instructions for her to 
wait at the airport for his town car. 
They had merely issued her a spe- 
cial, diplomatic permit and she had 
gone through customs practically in 

routine fashion. After five years of 
not seeing her, his only daughter, 
who had cared for him almost like 
a wife ever since her motfier died, 
to hear from her should Have pro- 
duced an unusual response from him. 
But there was nothing — only the en- 



try permit. 

They were out on Lehder Strasse 
now and the traffic was quite thin. 
The chauffeur said, "Fraulein, I don't 
like those two sedans that are fol- 
lowing us. Maybe I'd better slow up 
and see if those fellows want some- 
thing. After all, a fellow has to 
watch out for his neck these days." 

The taxi turned off into a very 
narrow side street and came to a stop. 
One of the sedans parked ahead of 
it and one parked behind it. Janice 
reached into her purse and gripped 
her little pistol. This was obviously 
a trap! 

As she saw two tall gunmen in 
black overcoats and black hats step 
out of each car and approach her, 
with the taxi driver sitting very calm- 
ly at his wheel, she thought of 
Agarthi and its invigorating , life- 
prolonging light, its exotic gardens 
and heavenly perfumes; she thought 
of that unforgettable episode with 
Rocky in the swimming pool enclo- 
sure, felt again his strong, tattooed, 
life-loving, fight-loving arms about 
her, his lips against hers. She re- 
gretted that she had torn herself 
away from that magic threshold of 
happiness, that she had refused to be 
his wife. Ignominious death in a rain- 
spattered alley of Berlin was a far 
cry from the Heaven on Earth that 
was Agarthi. 

Knowing that this was the end and 
that her pistol was a useless toy in 
front of these gun-masters, she only 
watched them through a film of mois- 
ture in her eyes as they pointed their 
automatics at her and prepared to 
pull the triggers . . . 

But nothing happened. 

For a long time the men only stood 
there, as though paralyzed, while her 
head rang like a bell. It seemed that 
her very skull vibrated with that ring- 
ing noise I Suddenly, the four gun- 
men collapsed, unconscious, onto the 
street, and in the same instant the 
taxi driver started driving away as 
though the devil were after him. She 
saw his face in the rear vision mirror 
and knew that he was driving in a 

Somebody was helping herl It 
couldn't be Agarthi, for three rea- 
sons: she had demonstrated that she 
was an enemy of Agarthi, she had 
made an attempt on the King's life, 
and Agarthi was too far removed 
from Berlin to be effective here. No, 
she reasoned, her father had known 
the danger she was in. His scientific 
corps, headed by that German genius 
who was equal to Russia's Dr. Borg, 
the Nameless Ones' Chief of Re- 
search, Dr. Gerhardt Eidelmann, 
was protecting her by means of some 
clever new device. 

When she saw that the chauffeur 
was heading definitely for her street, 
Friedrich Strasse, she took new cour- 
age and nursed the conviction that 
she had merely been running the 
gamut of opposition interference to 
get to her house, that her father was 
doing all in his power to protect her 
until he could really show himself 
and take her gratefully into his arms. 

With a joyful smile of relief, she 
paid off the bewildered chauffeur and 
ran up the pompous stairway in 
front of the Count's ancestral man- 



sion. A butler whom she had not 
seen before opened the door. "Please 
have my luggage brought in," she 
said as she started in the door. 

He blocked her path, "And who 
are you?" he asked, bluntly. 

"The Count's daughter!" she re- 
torted. "Would you mind permitting 
me to enter my own house?" 

"Since when did he have a daugh- 

Janice sputtered. "How long have 
you worked here?" she asked. 

"Three years," 

"And you mean to say— " 

"I have worked here three years 
and during that time the Count never 
mentioned he had a daughter — " 

This was enough for Janice's hot 
temper. She had her pistol out and 
it was pointed straight at his belicose 
paunch. "Did it ever occur to you, 
Dumbkopf, that the Count would 
have a very good reason for hiding 
the fact, inasmuch as I have been 
serving the Cause for five years as a 
secret agent abroad?" 

The butler's bushy brows turned 
up their arches. His mouth opened 
in speechless, gold-toothed amaze- 
ment as he looked down at the gun 
and absorbed what she said. 

"Now will you kindly step out of 
the way and let me in?" she said. 

In a lightning flash of legerdemain, 
the butler ducked, almost threw her 
arm out of joint, and took her gun 
away from her before she could pull 
the trigger. He pinned her arm to 
her back. He stood behind her and 
prodded her with the gun. "Suppose 
we hear what the Count has to say 

about it!" he said. 

Count Georg Heinrich Wolfgang 
von Immerschoen still wore the pasty 
complexion of a consumptive, and he 
had added another set of pouches 
under his sickly gray eyes. But no 
smile of welcome! Just that poker 
face that told her he was either mad, 
worried, or embarrassed. 

"Papit" she exclaimed, still in the 
butler's grip. "What have they done 
to you? What is the matter, dear? 
Don't you know me?" 

The Count did not flicker an eye- 
lash, but he made a gesture with his 
hands and the butler released her. 

"Begging your pardon, sir," said 
the butler in mortified amazement. 
"You never told me you had a — " 

Another gesture of those pale, 
blue-veined hands, and the butler 
gulped. "I — I'll go get the baggage, 
sir!" he said, and disappeared. 

Janice ran to her father and threw 
her arms around his neck, sobbing. 
"Paptf PapiJ You have needed me 
so! They haven't taken care of you! 
But your Irmchen is home now and 
things will be different!" 

The Count made a balf-hearted 
attempt to pat her hand. "Thank 
God you are safe," he said. "It is a 
shock to see you. I thought you were 

Then came the shock of Janice's 
life. A little bell buzzed in her skull, 
and she was suddenly aware that 
she was reading her fathers mind! 

How in the devil did she get here? 
came his thought. Kerlberg, Semmel- 
kopj, Singerman and Schmetterling 
— my best agents. And they couldn't 



take care of hert Why did she have 
to come? I can't protect her. The 
Nameless Ones will not have her 
here in Berlin. And of all nights, 
why did she have to choose tonight 
to pop up after jive years of absence, 
when the cartel group meets under 
this very roof! I have failed the 
Nameless Ones. They ordered me to 
kill her and I must! It's for the 
Cause, and that's more important 
than my own flesh and blood! 

Vertigo tore through her conscious- 
ness like a cyclone. In spite of her- 
self, she started to faint. But some 
counterbalancing force suddenly pen- 
etrated her being like a golden ray 
of life-giving energy. The blackness 
cleared and she felt unaccountably 
alert and strong. Beware! came a 
thought into her head, and she turned 
from her father to see a strange man 
standing in the doorway of the 
library. Simultaneously, she felt her 
father's sudden surge of abject fear 
and she knew that she was looking 
at a being whom she had often heard 
discussed in previous years but never 
actually seen. She knew that she 
was looking at one of the Nameless 
Ones, at one of those mysterious, 
hidden "bosses" of the world, to 
whom international cartel chiefs re- 
ported in humble subjection. 

The man was tail, with a distinct- 
ly military bearing, cold and sharp 
like a saber. He wore immaculate 
evening clothes and a monocle. His 
eyes were black and glittering, re- 
minding Janice of Stephen Germain 
in a way, except that here was the 
aspect of evil. His age was beyond 
forty but otherwise indefinable. The 

face had something about it which 
could not be remembered. The fea- 
tures were normal enough, but some- 
thing was missing, missing in a way 
that bothered human instinct. Janice 
had to fight against her own fear of 
this man as he stood there in the 
doorway looking at her. 

The Count sprang chubbily to his 
feet at once. His was a short, Napol- 
eonic figure, slightly deteriorated by 
toneless flabbiness, and he looked 
suddenly very ridiculous and pitiable 
as he stood there with his popping 
eyes and stared and sweated. Janice 
had never seen him like this before in 
her life, and for the first time she 
realized that the King of the World 
was right Her father was a catspawl 

Anger swept away her fears and 
she faced the intruder boldly. "I 
don't believe," she said, "that we 
have been introduced. Father—" 
She turned to him, expecting at least 
an attempt at the usual social amen- 

But the Count only turned pasti- 
er and said nothing. The Nameless 
One ignored her with icy deliberation. 

"The Council," he said, toneless- 
ly, "is about to begin." 

Then the Count found his voice. 
He smiled and winced and almost 
stuttered all at the same time. "The 
Council! Yes I" He started forward, 
turned back, took Janice's arm, re- 
leased it, then backed away from her 
and said, "You— ah — don't feel well I 
You wish to retire, nicht wahr?" 

And without further ado he march- 
ed out of the room with his too im- 
maculate summoner. But not before 
Janice discovered something that 



made her teeth want to chatter. She 
had found that she could read her 
father's mind in the instant she 
willed it, but when she tried to read 
the stranger's mind there was no re- 
sult, as though he did not even exist! 

Janice searched the house but 
could find no one. Yet she remem- 
bered what she had read in her fa- 
ther's mind: — under this very roof. 
The Council Room had to be some- 
where—perhaps in the basement. But 
on second thought she knew that 
was unlikely because the basement 
was chopped up into many small 
partitions, for liquor storage, trunks 
and general keepsakes, winter pre- 
serves and so forth. No, it had to be 
somewhere else. Perhaps a secret 

That gave her ideas. Her mind 
reverted to the elevator her father 
had once had installed in the house 
for her invalid mother. After she had 
died he had completely modernized 
it. It was the latest magnetic type, 
for use in skyscrapers, but the man- 
sion only had three stories. Now she 
remembered with a start that she 
had been sent to America just as the 
alteration work was begun, when she 
was about fifteen years of age. Why 
had she always been so blind and 
trusting? Why was it that only now 
she could see these things clearly? 
That elevator led to the Council 
Room of the Nameless Ones— deep 
down below the house! 

She went to the elevator and 
stepped inside. After closing its steel 
door, she pressed the button marked 
"K" and the cage dropped so rapid- 

ly and so freely that she thought she 
had fallen into a huge cavern and 
was going to crash. However, she 
soon ascertained that the elevator 
was following a regular shaft into 
the depths of the Earth. Her cal- 
culations told her that she had 
descended perhaps two thousand 
feet before she stopped. 

For the first time she realized how 
foolhardy she had been. What would 
happen to her was only too obvious 
if she should step right out into a 
full scale session of the Nameless 
Ones. Still, there was nothing else to 
do now. 

Experimentally, she tried to 
concentrate on reading someone'i 
thoughts, on the outside of the ele- 
vator. And she read thoughts, the 
thoughts of a German soldier who 
stood on guard just outside . . . 

When will I ever get assigned to 
the Schwalbenkorps? he was think- 

Janice tried to concentrate on the 
guard's falling asleep. The little bell 
buzzed faintly in her skull, and 
soon she knew by his dwindling 
stream of thought that he was asleep. 

She opened the elevator door and 
stepped out. As she did so, the ele- 
vator automatically began its return 
trip upward. 

She was in a rock-walled tunnel 
which was illuminated by fluorescent 
tubes. It stretched away in a curve 
out of sight. At her feet, sprawled 
blissfully in a corner, was a German 
corporal. She relieved him of bis 
radium pistol and began to move 
down the tunnel. 

She had not gone very far before 



she heard the sound of soldiers 
marching. In order to avoid detec- 
tion she entered a very narrow niche 
in the wall which gave admittance to 
a small passageway paralleling the 
tunnel. Following this hastily for a 
short distance, she came to a flight 
of stone steps. Once she had climbed 
them she encountered a turn in the 
passage to the right. Slits were cut 
in the left wall, and through these 
she could see a large cavern that 
stretched away into dimness. 

To her surprise, the floor was 
smoothly paved and had traffic lines 
painted on it. Directly below she 
saw a parking area in which approx- 
imately ten beautiful cars were 

Somehow, these cars had been 
driven down here from the surface! 
The Council Chamber, she reasoned, 
must be very close. 

She walked a few steps down a 
passageway. To her right was a door, 
and inside was a dimly lighted room. 
A soldier showing the arm insignia 
of the Technical Corps was seated 
there with his back toward her, in- 
tent upon the controls of a very 
strange looking machine. His head 
was covered with what looked like a 
beauty parlor hair dryer, and metal 
disks touched the base of his neck 
and his temples. Before him was a 
lighted visiscreen in which the Coun- 
cil Chamber was plainly visible. 

She looked at the radium pistol in 
her hand. No sense in killing this 
man. But she wanted to work that 
machine herself. By means of it she 
could not only see everybody in the 
Council Chamber but could also read 

everybody's mind. She lowered the 
pistol and concentrated on having 
the fellow fall asleep. Soon he did. 
She had to rush forward to grab him 
and prevent his strange helmet from 
crashing into the visiscreen. It cost 
her considerable effort to drag the 
operator from his seat, but she final- 
ly managed it. After disarming him, 
she sat down at the control panel. 

Her hands knew what to do with 
the controls if her mind did not. It 
seemed that Agarthi had been wait- 
ing precisely for this advantageous 
moment, because the bell in her head 
was now ringing loudly. Okay, she 
knew whose side she was on now. 
She would help them. Let Agarthi 
learn what it wanted to know 
through her own eyes and mind! 

Before her in the visiscreen was a 
complete picture of the Council 
Chamber. At one end, on a raised 
platform, sat six of the Nameless 
Ones in their elegant evening clothes, 
all of them characterized by that cer- 
tain missing something in their faces 
that bothered instinct. Below them 
was the chair and the elaborate desk 
of the Chairman of the Council, her 
own father. Below him at a black, 
marble-topped conference table, sat 
ten very frightened looking men, five 
on each side. 

Before them sat the key men of 
the world, the cartel leaders. At the 
moment in which Janice began to 
listen, a man named Fritz Ober- 
hausen was making some concluding 
remarks about a man named Roth- 

"The more favorable his position 
becomes with the public," Ober- 



hausen complained, "the more egotis- 
tical and demanding he becomes. Of 
course, through your generosity we 
are able to supply most of his physi- 
cal demands just as long as the pub- 
lic does not know the truth about 
him. When he wanted a full scale 
medieval castle with modern facilities 
to live in, we built it for him — under- 
ground. We resell half of his special- 
ly built limousines and he doesn't 
know the difference. But that harem 
of his!" Oberhausen was sweating, 
his eyes wide with the horror of what 
he knew, "He plays bluebeardt We 
can't procure enough women if he's 
going to kill them all — not the in- 
telligent and beautiful women he 
wants 1 Especially if they are all 
supposed to be connoisseurs of classi- 
'cal music. And that Schwarzhansl 
He has too much freedom 1 I am 
sorry to report that Rothbart and his 
castle are getting out of hand." 

Count von Immerschoen was no 
longer in the condition in which 
Janice had seen him in the library. 
He was like his old self, cold and 

"This is not a place in which to 
report failures or personal difficul- 
ties," he said. "Rothbart's efficiency 
rating with the German public is 
ninety-eight percent, the most re- 
markable ever recorded. Even in ad- 
joining countries his average runs 
sixty-five. Therefore, appeasing his 
wants and keeping him satisfied is 
more important than your own feel- 
ings or interests. If that is not clear, 
Herr Oberhausen — " 

K I understand, mdn Herri" Ober- 

hausen hastened to exclaim. 
"Then you are dismissed I" 
Oberhausen was only too glad to 

scuttle, out of the room . . . 

Whereupon, other world affairs 
and problems were discussed. It 
would be well to let the Chicago 
negotiations succeed in establishing 
the gold ounce at fifty dollars be- 
cause England would finally be 
forced to take advantage of her long 
withheld South African gold reserves 
and thus counterbalance the XI. S. 
monopoly. Wheat should go up five 
percent. Also butterfat. Hold steel 
steady on the market but let its 
price be boosted through labor union 
demands for higher wages. Keep a 
skeleton staff busy in armament in- 
dustries through the fomentation of 
temporary wars and revolutions. 

Janice took special note of some 
remarks made concerning Russia 
and the recent great War. This time, 
one of the Nameless Ones spoke. 

"Our most immediate problem is 
our war with Agarthi." Janice stared 
and strained to hear every word now. 
"The Elder Gods said that Agarthi 
would have to take over world gov- 
ernment in one year. That still leaves 
us nine months to make sure Agarthi 
does not take over. The first step is 
the shaping of public opinion. To- 
night the Indicator showed world 
wide non-belief versus belief in 
Agarthi and the Elder Gods as fifty- 
five to forty-five. That is s\ill a very 
dangerous percentage of belief. It 
must be lowered still more. You must 
ridicule Agarthi and the Elder Gods. 



"The nest step, to be carried out 
simultaneously, is domination of the 
underworld. Mr, Chairman, how 
many of the Schwalbenkorps are now 
searching the natural caves?" 

"We have close to a hundred thou- 
sand men down there now, sir," re- 
plied Von Irnmerschoen. 

"Send another fiffy thousand, as 
many as you can train for the job. A 
hundred thousand more, if possible. 
They must block off the grav-sled 
ways that lead to Agarthi so that the 
migrant Agarthians cannot join 
forces with our main enemy. They 
must find all the machines and 
weapons and accumulate them as 
swiftly as possible in the Berlin area. 
Above all, we need more stationary 
war rays for fighting any chance 
extra-terrestrials as well as the Agar- 
thiams. The latter have space ships. 
We must also get hold of space ships. 
We need tunnel boring equipment 
and a larger type teletransporter 
than has been found to date. The 
ones Dr. Eidelmann has are not pow- 
erful enough to reach Agarthi. Even 
of the smaller ranged teletransporters 
he requires as many as he can get 
for the Doppelganger project. If he 
succeeds at that, it will be a great 

Janice suddenly straightened up 
when she felt the muzzle of a radium 
pistol in her back. She turned her 
head enough to observe that the room 
was full of soldiers. 

"Get on your feet!" said the one 
behind her, while two others picked 
up two radium pistols from her lap. 

When she got up and turned 
around, she did not see any faces 

that looked particularly friendly. 
These veteran guards were fright- 
ened, themselves, at the sheer mag- 
nitude of her offense. 

"How did you get in here?" asked 
her captor. He was a tall, lean fel- 
low with jutting eyebrows, the lanky 
Tyrolean type that was streamlined 
from leaning against the wind on a 
pair of swift skis, she thought. 

But she was also thinking about 
the little bell ringer in her head that 
bad been warning her of danger and 
paralyzing people so handily. Where 
was it now? Suddenly the ghastly 
thought came to her that Agarthi had 
gotten what it wanted out of her and 
did not need her any morel She tried 
to read her captor's mind, but noth- 
ing happened. 

Bitterness suddenly choked her. 
Twice cast out! First her father's 
group had told her she was not need- 
ed. Now Agarthi was through with 
herl It was the disillusionment that 
hurt. She had really expected a bet- 
ter deal. But, after all, she had tried 
to kill the King. Maybe she de- 
served what she was getting, which, 
of course, could be nothing but a 
prompt execution. 

They kept her locked up in a little 
room for about an hour. Then four 
guards came and took her out. One 
of them was the tall Tyrolean. They 
led her silently along a tunnel which 
had a slight upward inclination. 

"Where are you taking me?" she 

"To the castle of Erich Rothbart * 
replied the Tyrolean. 
Janice tried to come to a stand- 



still but they pulled her along with 

"Where is my father?" she de- 

"How should I know? Do you 
know where mine is?" said the Tyro- 

"My father is the Count von Im- 
merschoen," Janice informed him. 

All the guards stopped. The Tyro- 
lean looked at her in amazement and 
shook his head. "How do you do it?" 
he said. "First you sneak in here, 
which was impossible until you did 
it. Then you take over that machine 
and learn everything that's going on 
in the Council Chamber. Now your 
father is supposed to be Von Immer- 
schoen ! " 

"What makes that' seem so 
strange," she asked. 

"Because his daughter was killed 
five years ago in a traffic accident in 
New York," replied the Tyrolean. 
"Besides that, Von Immerschoen was 
present when the Nameless Ones de- 
cided that they could use you by 
having you help keep Rothbart sat- 
isfied. You'd think that a father 
would complain about his own daugh- 
ter's condemnation to a fate worse 
than death I" The other three guards 
winked at each other and guffawed. 

Janice's face was pale. "The Count 
said nothing?" she queried. 

"Nothing! Of course, he did look 
like he was going to puke, but he 
always looks that way." This was for 
the entertainment of the other three 
guards, who guffawed again. 

As they marched along the tunnel 
toward Rothbart's subterranean lair, 
Janice found herself to be curiously 

devoid of feelings, as though she had 
been stunned. Rejected by the 
"Cause." Rejected by Agarthi. And 
now — rejected by her father 1 

The girls in Rothbart's harem 
were from all parts of the world. In 
addition to a too voluptuous mulata 
from Valparaiso there was an un- 
usually exotic Egyptian girl, named 
Nezha, from Alexandria. There were 
blondes and brunettes and redheads, 
some tall and stately, from Scandi- 
navia and Finland, others small and 
petite, from the more cosmopolitan 
centers of the Continent, such as 
Paris, Budapest, Berlin. One was 
even a kidnapped movie star from 
Hollywood, Amelia Rand, a gorgeous 
youngster only seventeen years of 
age, with sky blue eyes and soft, 
auburn hair. To look at her flawless 
youth was to realize the full magni- 
tude of the criminality which the 
castle represented. 

Most amazing of all was the social 
status and background of each. The 
least of them was Julia, the Chilean 
mulata, who was the educated daugh- 
ter of one of Chile's most important 
producers of champagne. The Egyp- 
tian, Nezha, was the daughter of a 
fabulously wealthy Mohammedan 
rice and cotton merchant. 

It was only a week after Janice's 
arrival. She, like the rest of the 
girls, had been "standardized." 
Scented baths, ultra violet ray treat- 
ments, beauty makeup, and an ex- 
travagant but embarrassing negligee. 
There was nothing else available to 
wear. Much to her disliking, the 
whole effect was to make her fairly 



glow with irresistibility. In accord- 
ance with regulations, they all ate at 
the great, medieval style banquet 
table on the top floor, adjacent to 
the huge reception hall. They were 
seated at the table, eating and con- 
versing, when a sudden commotion 
was heard in the hall. They heard 
servants running and orders shouted, 
while they all looked tensely at one 

"Weill" said Ingaborg, the tall 
Norwegian who had eyes like a 
Nordic fjord and a pair of lips ftat 
even a woman had to admire, plus 
long braids of hair that looked like 
polished white gold. "Our lord and 
master has returned!" She belonged 
to an aristocratic family in Oslo and 
had come to Berlin as a singing stu- 
dent to study Wagnerian opera. She 
would have made a refreshing Brun- 
hilde. All the girls looked up to her 
because they knew Rothbart was 
somewhat in awe of her. "Look your 
worst, girls," she advised, wryly. 
"Here he comes!" 

Rothbart strode into the room with 
the red lining of his cloak swirling 
in his wake like a destroying flame. 
He came to a dead stop directly in 
front of Janice and gloated over her 
thinly clad form. But most of all 
he was delighted by what he saw in 
her face. 

"Friiulein von Immerschoen 1 " he 
exclaimed, with a resonant, deeply 
masculine voice. "How delighted I 
am to welcome you as my thirteenth 

"You never had a wife and never 
will," Janice retorted, with a hateful 
defiance in her voice which competed 

with Ingaborg's. 

Rothbart's thin brows went up in 
some surprise, but he was elated. 
He grasped her chin roughly in his 
large, artistic hand and laughed in 
her face. 

"Wonderful!" he shouted. "Pride/ 
That's what I like!" And then he 
sneered. "I like to peel it off, layer 
by layer, until nothing is left but a 
cowering, groveling female! Ha! 
What right have you to pride? Your 
father thinks he is my brain, yet he 
could not exert his influence enough 
to keep you from me! That's what 
I'm going to love about you! Every 
tear or scream for mercy I squeeze 
out of you will be dedicated to your 
so wonderful, putrid father!" 

Janice could not restrain the pow- 
erful slap she gave Rothbart. It was 
a slap that resounded like a fire 
cracker and left a very red welt on 
his face. The other girls present only 
drew in their breaths and turned pale. 
Janice's extensive training in abnor- 
mal psychology told her that there 
was no good in the white that was 
showing around the pupils of Roth- 
bart's eyes or in the faint gloss of 
spittle that was gathering at the 
corners of his mouth as he stood 
there rigidly, recovering from that 
stinging slap. 

Janice ran like a gazelle for the 
hall. She knew by the sounds be- 
hind her that Rothbart was after her. 
She looked back once and saw Inga- 
borg and a slim brunette from Paris 
trip him. But this only increased 
his rage. Janice ran for a tunnel en- 
trance that she knew led to the main 
elevator, but in a flash he was in 


front of her, blocking her path. The 
other girts were crowded at the ban- 
quet hall entrance, most of them 
terrified into immobility, half of them 
screaming at her to run. Ingaborg 
and Nezha, the Egyptian, were in the 
hall, hoping in some way to run in- 
terference for her. She appreciated 
that. It gave her courage. 

She ducked and dodged and ran for 
the sweeping stairway, but his long 
legs had her at a disadvantage. He 
was there before her again, on the 
stairs glaring down at her. His hand 
collided with the hilt of a rapier on 
the wall. Grinning wildly, he drew 
it from its long scabbard and came 
at her with it, amidst a crescendo of 
screams from the girls. 

But a slight ray of hope came to 
Janice when she saw the companion 
of that rapier on the wall. She had 
not won the Olympic championship 
in fencing for nothing. She knew she 
had an advantage over Rothbart be- 
cause of her training, even if he was 
taller and far stronger than she. 

As she ran from him, she cried out 
to Ingaborg, who was on the stair- 
way, "Throw me the other swordl" 

Ingaborg lost no time in doing so, 
even though Rothbart tried to pre- 
vent it He lunged at her with his 
sword and she went down with a 
nasty gash in her white shoulder. But 
he did not have time to make a coup 
de grace, because Janice came near to 
impaling him. Expertly, he ducked 
and parried her thrust and then 
charged her. Those girls present who 
were not trying to help Ingaborg 
would never forget the sight of a 
beautiful young woman in a filmy, 

blue negligee dueling with a giant of 
a man with a red cape, in the vast 
reception hall of that medieval castle. 
Janice was faster and slightly more 
expert with the blade and Rothbart 
knew it. When she began to corner 
him, several guards came running in 
from the tunnel and pinned her arms 
behind her. 

Rothbart advanced to kill her then. 
He was making insane, guttural 
grunts and half screams and was 
swinging his rapier for her. 

The bell rang louder. In her skullt 
Janice screamed at the top of her 
lungs, "Agarthi!" 

There was no time to do anything 
else than think at the monster who 
was almost on top of her. Sleep, you 
poor, horrible, mad beast/ Sleep- 

The madman came to a sudden 
halt and stopped his hideous shriek- 
ing. He emitted a curious little 
whine, like a puppy. Then he fell 
flat on his face at her feet. The hands 
of the guards relaxed and they, too, 
slumped down unconscious. 

In the midst of muffled exclama- 
tions of relief and amazement, the 
girls sprang to her. She motioned 
for them to follow her quickly. 

There was no time for conversa- 
tion. She merely led them out. When 
they got to the gate, itself, the guard 
was nowhere in evidence. They found 
the garage with its limousines. 

Janice assigned the big, powerful 
cars to the girls who could drive. 
There were five chauffeurs. The other 
girls piled in beside them. Janice's 
car was a Messerschmidt with aux- 
iliary rocket drive for highway cruis- 



ing. So was Ingaborg's. They har- 
bored a faint hope that if they could 
reach a good main highway on the 
surface they would be able to turn 
on the jets and head for Holland. 
There were few surface vehicles, if 
any, that could overtake these spe- 
cial deluxe Messerschmidts, of 
which there was a very limited num- 
ber in existence. 

With a deep rumbling of high com- 
pression engines, the scintillating cars 
began to roll down the tunnel. In 
Janice's car were Beatrice of Mallor- 
ea and Nezha of Alexandria, both 
of them beside her in the spacious 
front seat. With Ingaborg went 
Amelia and Julia. Three more girls 
came in the third car, a big Duesen- 
berg of special design, driven by 
Yvonne, the brunette from Paris. 
Tanya the Yugoslav drove the 
fourth, a huge Lincoln V-24, accom- 
panied by a red-headed girl from 
Helsinki. The last car, a Douglas 
Meteor, was driven by a blue-eyed 
Irish girl named Margaret Hagan, 
whoe companion was a sandy-haired, 
tomboy type of a girl by the name of 
Judy Campbell, from New Zealand. 
A great number of people would have 
been somewhat astounded at the 
sight of two Messerschmidts, a Dues- 
enberg, a Lincoln V-24, and a Doug- 
las Meteor, carrying thirteen beauti- 
ful girls in scandalous negligees 
swiftly down a tunnel thousands of 
feet beneath the streets of Berlin. 

Herman Richter, of the Technical 
Corps, was certainly astounded at 
this spectacular procession. He hap- 
pened to be experimenting with the 
penetrovisiray above the Council 

Chamber and had the beginning of 
the long exit tunnel squarely focussed 
on his screen when Janice's car ap- 
peared, followed by the rest. Not 
caring to take time out for guessing 
the reason for such an apparition, he 
immediately sent a telepathic signal 
to a place where one of the Nameless 
Ones was always located . . . 

So it was that when Janice finally 
reached the ramp that led toward the 
surface she found her road blocked 
by several other cars parked side- 
ways. There had hastily gathered a 
handful of guards who now stood in 
front of the parked cars with radium 
pistols in their hands. Janice could 
have dashed away to her right, down 
the ramp, but she knew that the cars 
following her would be shot up or 
captured. So she stopped abruptly 
before the guards and concentrated 
on them. To the amazement of Be- 
atrice and Nezha, the guards closed 
their eyes and fell to the ground. 

"Get their pistols!" Janice told 
the girls. 

The other two jumped out and 
picked up four of the powerful 
weapons just as Ingaborg skidded to 
a stop behind them. Nezha tossed 
her two guns into Ingaborg's car and 
said, "Follow Janice! " Then she 
climbed in beside Beatrice in the lead 

Janice, not quite sure of her strate- 
gy now, turned right and headed 
down the ramp. She knew by what 
she had learned that she was heading 
toward a dim, lost world, in fact, 
the deserted caverns of Hell. But it 
was the only passage left open to 


her. Ingaborg followed her in blind 
faith. There was nothing else to do. 

Now that they had been discovered 
there was additional reason for haste. 
Janice knew that word would be sent 
ahead to block them. She gripped 
the steering wheel and stepped on the 
gas. The Messerschmidt leapt for- 
ward like an express train. . . . 

Experimental headquarters of the 
German Army's Technical Corps had 
been newly located approximately 
ten thousand feet underneath Pots- 
dam, not far from Berlin. The cavern 
was a thousand feet long and rather 
narrow, almost tunnel-like in its as- 
pect, but this shape lent itself ad- 
mirably to large scale laboratory 
work. On both sides of the cavern, 
long benches were lined up on which 
there was a great variety of small 
and large bench tools and instru- 
ments. Huge power lathes and mill- 
ing machines turned industriously 
under fluorescent lights, between 
benches. At other places, master ma- 
chinists and jewelers worked hand 
in hand with some of the world's 
best electro-physicists over tiny jew- 
elers' lathes and radiotronic devices. 
Down the ceiling ran the rails of a 
huge crane, but most spectacular of 
all was a battery of thirty teletrans- 
porters which were lined up against 
the wall at one end of the cave. In 
front of them, on a raised platform, 
was an extra teletransporter, like a 
robot lieutenant in front of a platoon 
of robot soldiers. 

Here was Dr. Gerhardt Eidelmann, 
one of the greatest scientific geniuses 
of his time, bald headed and myopic, 

with thick glasses and a black Van 
Dyke, eagerly placing a young pig 
in the raised teletransporter. Beside 
him stood three of the Nameless 
Ones, who had come here specifically 
to witness this experiment which rep- 
resented the most significant of all of 
Eidelmann's contributions to the 

"Ordinary transference," he was 
explaining to them, "from the sender 
to the receiver, is a relatively easy 
matter. But when we go into multi- 
ple reception, thus duplicating the 
object sent, the result is an attenua- 
tion followed immediately by death 
and dissolution. I will show you 
.what I mean." 

With the pig securely imprisoned 
in the transparent sending chamber, 
he signalled to his technicians at a 
nearby control panel. The Nameless 
Ones merely observed without any 
sign of an expression on their faces.. 
The pig, they saw, suddenly blurred 
and disappeared. 

"Look at the receivers," said 
Eidelmann, wiping the sweat of nerv- 
ous tension from his egg-bald scalp. 
He peered through his thick glasses 
at the thirty teletransporters which 
were all set to receive the pig simul- 

In the thirty receiving chambers, 
thirty ghostly pigs took shape. Then, 
as suddenly as they had appeared, 
they collapsed into little messy pools 
on the floors of the chambers. 

"Too much attenuation," ex- 
plained Eidelmann. "Understand, of 
course, tie subject sent will survive 
a certain amount, if we condition the 
chambers by greatly reducing the air 



pressure. But the life span is reduced 
proportionately. " 

"We already know all that," said 
one of the Nameless Ones, impatient- 
ly. "But now let's see the real Dop- 
pelganger experiment ! " 

"Very well," Eidelmann replied, 
admitting a second pig into the send- 
er. There was a note of pride in 
his voice, and justifiably so, because 
the Doppelganger experiment was an 
improvement on ordinary teletrans- 
portation — an improvement on some- 
thing which a superior race of beings 
had conceived of fifty or a hundred 
thousand years before his time. 

"This time a tributary ray is fed 
into the main transference beam, 
transmitted by a separate teletrans- 
porter in another cave. The sum total 
of chemical substances which com- 
pose a pig's body has been increased 
twenty-nine times and placed in the 
other sender. These chemicals are re- 
duced by energizing, like the pig, on 
the well known principle of the Ein- 
stein equation, into a regular trans- 
ference beam and fed into the main 
beam before it gets to my multiple 
divider which breaks it into thirty 
separate beams, one for each receiver. 
Hence, the beam that is laden with 
the energy equivalents of the chem- 
ical components is also equally di- 
vided. The resultant received object 
is a live pig which is not attenuated! H 
Eidelmann's magnified eyes beamed 
grotesquely behind his lenses as he 
added the punch line. "In other 
words, I create — out of the 'clay* — 
twenty-nine extra pigsl Observe 1" 

Again he signalled to his assistants 
and they fell to work. Again the pig 

in the sending chamber blurred and 
disappeared. But in the thirty re- 
ceivers a miracle occurred. Fully 
thirty live and solid pigs material- 

"A secondary purpose of this ex- 
periment," said Eidelmann, "is to 
provide food for the army which you 
want to produce. This is a method of 
doing it, although I must warn you 
that there is actually nothing mirac- 
ulous under the stars, and that the 
effect you see is the result of causes 
which in no way represent a viola- 
tion of the fundamental laws of Na- 
ture. I am trying to point out that 
in Nature no thing is gotten for noth- 
ing. To reproduce the extra pigs we 
had to expend a lot of effort to ac- 
cumulate the substances of which 
they are composed. In ordinary Na- 
ture this requires stock raising equip- 
ment, a lot of food and water and 
care and patience and months of de- 
velopment. What you have just wit- 
nessed represents a very speedy 
method of reproducing food." 

"Very interesting," commented the 
Nameless One who was the spokes- 
man for the other two. "But when 
will you have the necessary materials 
accumulated to reproduce men in the 
same fashion? We need a vast, secret 
army in a very short space of time. 
There are at present two million reg- 
ulars in the German Army. We pro- 
pose to multiply every man by your 
method, thus making sixty million, 
together with their portable weapons 
and food. You have most of the 
formulas worked out covering the 
components of everything to be re- 
produced, the source* of these com- 



ponents are mostly all within Ger- 
man territory, and they are even now 
being gathered, at an increasing 
speed. More teletransporters are be- 
ing made available. Within three 
months you must be set up to start 
marching the entire army through the 
senders so that the true Doppel- 
ganger will be produced. You must 
produce a force which cannot be 

Dr. Eidelmann looked somewhat 
conscience stricken. "I — failed to 
mention one thing/' he said, looking 
almost guiltily from one Nameless 
One to the other. 

"What is that?" said the spokes- 
man, coldly. The other two gave him 
a baleful stare. 

"There is one substance, if we 
may call it that, which we cannot 
duplicate," replied Eidelmann. "In 
the human subject received it may 
be necessarily greatly attenuated. It 
is my theory that in the case of the 
teletransportation of men through 
my multiple divider it will make a 
basic difference in them." 

"What is the missing substance?" 
demanded the Nameless One. 

"Some people call it — the soul," 
replied Eidelmann. "The men who 
go through the senders will never be 
themselves again. They will lose a 
positive identity to become autom- 

"So much the better," replied the 
Nameless One. 

All of a sudden, he and his two 
companions looked at each other, 
questioningly, as though they were 
listening to a strange sound. Eidel- 
mann was about to speak to them 

when they raised their hands for 
silence. Then the spokesman turned 
to him quickly. 

"We have just received a commu- 
nication that a very important enemy 
agent and a group of companions 
have escaped from Rothbart's castle 
and are headed this way in five of 
Rothbart's cars. They are to be 
stopped at all costs. Contact Major 
Blau at once and tell him to use all 
the means at his command to stop 
them. The leader of this group, a 
girl, is an agent of Agarthil" 

"Agarthi!" exclaimed Eidelmann, 

"Yes, Agarthi. You may appreci- 
ate now, Doktor, the necessity for 
haste in your work. Agarthi is be- 
ginning to move against us!" 

As Janice made a long, screeching 
turn on a gradually spiralling ramp, 
there came into her head through the 
Agarthian mechanism a word of 
warning. She was told to slow to a 
stop and ask all her companions in 
the other cars to get into hers. 

When she told the other girls to 
do so, they wanted to question her, 
but she said, "This place is all a 
mystery to you. I haven't got time 
to tell you about it. But I know far 
more about it than you do. I can't 
guarantee that we'll ever come out of 
here alive, but with me you'll have a 
better chance than you would by 

"You lead the way, Janice," said 
Ingaborg, calmly. "I'm with you to 
the finish 1" 

And the other girls expressed, in 
various languages, the same idea. 



"Then hold on tight," she said. 
"Here go the rockets!" 

The voice in her head had told 
her to do this. She got up momentum 
in the now heavily laden Messer- 
schmidt and at a very high speed, 
switched on the rockets. The big 
car belched flame from six jet tubes 
in the rear and soon lurched ahead 
with a terrible new velocity. The 
tunnel was straight in this stretch. 
Also, it was lighted. 

The guards at station 157 would 
never forget the very brief glimpse 
they caught on their visiscreen of 
that flaming rocket car laden with 
thirteen indescribable beauties as it 
hurtled at two hundred miles an hour 
down the tunnel toward unexplored 
territory. They caught the car direct- 
ly in their paralysis beam, hoping 
that the driver's feet and hands 
would fall limply off the controls. 
With the traction beams they tried 
to bring the car to a halt, but with 
the added weight of the thirteen girls 
there was just enough extra inertia 
to make the task problematical. The 
power units of the traction beam gen- 
erators groaned under the strain and 
even threatened to blow up, but the 
plunging Messerschmidt struggled 
onward and finally got out of effec- 
tive range. They had escaped, even 
though they had been paralyzed I 
But then the operators received the 
surprise of their lives. In their visi- 
screens they saw that the coppery 
headed beauty who had been driving 
was still doing the driving! Her 
companions lay as though asleep 
about her but she still clung grimly 
to that wheel, her eyes wide and star- 

ing, like one who drives in a trance. 

"A witch I" muttered one operator. 
The others looked wonderingly at 
him. He was right! This was some- 
thing unexplainable. A witch was 
driving straight into the belly of what 
was left of Hell! 

Janice and the girls had quickly 
recuperated from their paralysis, and 
she had shut off the rocket drive of 
the Messerschmidt. She knew she 
had been unconscious and yet that 
she had, under guidance, managed 
to hold the car in the center of the 
tunnel. Again she could thank Agar- 
thi for her escape. At first she won- 
dered if it were possible to get to 
Agarthi, somehow, through the tun- 
nel, but immediately she became 
aware of the problem of food and 
water, among other problems. It ap- 
peared that their only recourse was 
to find a way back to the surface as 
quickly as possible. That was her 
idea until they struck a pile of 
debris when traveling about forty 
miles per hour. Three tires blew out 
and the radiator was smashed be- 
yond repair after a screeching tussle 
with the wall of the tunnel. 

So they began to walk. 

Ingaborg saw them first. They 
were marching behind a curious ma- 
chine which was rolling along on 
large, broad-rimmed wheels. In the 
machine were materials, food, water 
and equipment. On top of it was 
mounted a formidable looking ray 
generator of some sort. There were 
about five hundred people. And be- 
hind them rolled more of the ma- 
chines. The men were very tall and 



powerful looking and they wore 
medieval type leather clothes and 
skirts of chain mail. The women 
were very good looking and were 
also dressed in a medieval type of 

"How can we meet them like this?" 
asked Beatrice. 

Janice looked at the sorry tatters 
of the girl's negligee. "It's true that 
your assets are showing," she smiled. 

That brought all the girls to the 
realization that they were by now 
half naked. Like sheep in a gather- 
ing storm, the girls huddled together 
to hide. But Ingaborg and Janice, 
who were just as much at a disad- 
vantage as the rest of them, declared 
that they would walk out to meet 
the strangers. Then the others said 
they would back them up. 

So it was that Charles of Ravenoe 
and his clan were suddenly con- 
fronted by thirteen maidens as fair 
and scantily clad as any red blooded 
man might ever hope to see. Some 
were blushing with shame and kept 
their eyes, like proper damsels, to 
the ground. Others, of higher birth 
still, perhaps, looked him straight in 
the eye. Especially the two out in 
front— the coppery haired one with 
the fiery, blue-green eyes, and the 
statuesque Viking woman with the 
hair of white gold and the eyes like 
long forgotten Nordic lakes. 

"The Saints of Heaven preserve 
usl" said Charles, as his merry brown 
eyes joined his lips in a cheery smile. 
"Whence come ye damsels, or are ye 
nymphs sprung out of heathen soil 
to haunt us good Christians?" Be- 

hind Charles crowded his wife and 
seven sons and three daughters, plus 
an eager group of other smiling young 
men. They had all come to a stop now 
and were facing each other. 

"We are from the surface world," 
said Janice. "We have had to run for 
our lives to escape German soldiers 
who sought to capture us. We are 
lost and hungry and rather helpless. 
Can you tell us how to return to the 

"Ho ho!" said Charles. "So the 
huns are even after chasing women, 
are they now! The scoundrels! May 
God come soon to the aid of 

Janice and all the other girls raised 
their brows in astonishment. 

"What do you know of Agarthi, or 
the Germans, for that matter?" asked 

Charles of Ravenoe now raised his 
brows and chuckled. "What do we 
know about Agarthi? My dear, we 
are in the service of Agarthi now. We 
are en route to a great rendezvous. 
Soon there will join us a superior 
force, and they in turn may bring a 
great colony of theirs to Earth from 
another world to help us in this final 
struggle against the enemies of truth 
and honor. We carry disintegrating 
rays, heat rays and visirays as well 
as long distance electronophones. Did 
you think we were but ignorant pil- 

Janice found it hard to believe her 
ears, but she wanted to more than 
anything else in life. "Do you mean 
to say," she said, "that there exists 
an Agarthian rendezvous now, where 
their forces are being gathered at the 



present moment?" 

"Charles of Ravenoe does not 
speak but to prattle," said the tall 

Janice looked suddenly very hum- 
ble and very anxious, all at the same 
time. "May we join you?" she asked, 

Charles of Ravenoe looked the 
girls over with an approving smile. 
Then he looked back at the group of 
handsome warriors. They were all 
intelligent looking fellows, mostly 
blond and blue-eyed. And they were 
grinning broadly. 

"Do I hear any objections to hav- 
ing these fair maids join forces with 
the clan of Ravenoe?" he asked. 

No one said a word. The women 
smiled and looked away. The un- 
married young men only grinned 

"You see," he said, turning to 
Janice and Ingaborg and the rest. 
"We do not waste words." 

"Thank you/' said Janice. "May 
I ask how it is that you can know 
what you do about the true history 
of Earth and still adhere to the 
Christian religion as you do? How 
can you reconcile the two?" 

Again Charles of Ravenoe laughed. 
"That is easyi" he assured her. "We 
admit that men have misinterpreted 
the word of God and could not see 
the true history of the world written 
in the scriptures. We know that the 
Fallen Angels were the Gods who 
stayed on the Earth when the others 
migrated outward ; we know that 
Hell was the result of disintegrant 
energy, which produced devils. But 
that does not place us in a position 

to deny that Christ was the son of 
God, or that it is a virtue to follow 
in the footsteps of the Author of the 
Golden Rule! Our religion is simple, 
but it is reconciled to the facts, and 
it is still Christian!" 

Janice's eyes were dimmed with 
emotion as she looked straight 
through broad Charles of Ravenoe 
at a brightening vision which she had 
come near to losing from heart and 
mind forever — Agarthi City, and a 
red headed fellow who loved a fight. 
There was hope, after all, even in 
spite of her father, the Schwalben- 
korps, and the Nameless Ones. Good 
forces were gathering under the 
"Banner of the Sword." That was 
where she wanted most of all to be, 
in the middle of the fight and carry- 
ing one of those banners out to a 
better world where men — and women 
— could really live someday accord- 
ing to the Golden Rule . . . 

August 28, 1971. Chicago sprawled 
resignedly under the merciless glare 
of a summer sky. Lake Michigan 
hoarded any chance coolness it might 
have had in its muddy depths and 
the only breeze that was felt on 
Michigan Boulevard was that caused 
by the traffic. 

This was Saturday afternoon and 
business offices were closing. 

There was a strange type of holi- 
day spirit in the air, as though a 
vaguely defined special occasion jus- 
tified this early closing of offices and 
aimless wandering in the streets. It 
was, no doubt, a subconscious public 
reaction to the peculiar world situa- 



The Chicago Tribune, like every 
major newspaper in the world, was 
as full of pros and cons as the Chi- 
cago Daily News — in fact, mostly it 
was full of cons: 

London, 28 (UP)— At 10:00 A.M. this 
morning, London Time, the Prime Min- 
ister was visited formally by the Nepalese 
ambassador to England, Majarajmat Fa fad 
Ramji, to be informed that Nepal had 
changed its name and that henceforth that 
mysterious and heretofore secluded country 
would be called Agarthi. It was further 
pointed out that the reason for this change 
was that Nepal had voluntarily accepted 
totalitarian rule by the government of 
Agarthi; itself, in consideration of the "in- 
tellectual, social and technological advan- 
tages to be gained." This move auto- 
matically establishes the very mysterious 
kingdom of Agarthi as a sovereign country 
with embassies and consulates in all the 
major countries of the world. 

Although the prime minister of England 
refused to make a statement to the press, 
it was learned here from good sources that 
a subversive plan is working behind the 
move, and that Nepal has been victimized 
by what is being termed the "crack- 
brained" fanatics of Agarthi, who, as Larry 
Rone, spokesman for the British Socialist 
Farty, put it, "are blowing pretty bubbles 
into the air . . ." 

Chicago, 28 (AP) — The government of the 
United States of America received official 
notification today from representatives of 
the newly named government of Agarthi 
(until this morning known as Nepal) that 
on January 1, 1972, all governments of 
the world were to consider themselves 
officially under the rule and authority of 
their King and the Council of Agarthian 
Elders. The name given m the startling 
document to the system under which all 
peoples of the Earth were supposed to be 
guided after December 31 was simply The 
Terrestrial Government. As soon as the 
"Terrestrial Government comes into effect," 
all national governments are to continue 
"as will be necessary to the routine con- 
tinuation of domestic and international 
commerce, ordinary management of the 
affairs of state, and general human wel- 
fare," but all international conferences rela- 
tive to territorial agreements, balance of 

power, alliances and mirit&ry treaties, etc, 
are supposed to be suspended completely. 
Furthermore, each nation is supposed to 
elect one delegate to a universal conference 
starting February 1, 1972, to be held in 
Agarthi City before the King and the 
Council of Elders, the purpose of which 
"will be to outline the basic changes which 
will be required in order to set in motion 
the most rapid social evolution possible 
toward an effectual world government." 

No reaction to this affront to the United 
States of America and to all nations of the 
world has as yet been registered officially 
at the Capitol, but filibustering California 
State congressman Tom Nichols was will- 
ing to say to the press, "No matter how 
thin you slice it, somebody is crazy!" 

Editorial by J. J. L. Krtjnk.— There 
are two events in the history of news- 
paper and magazine publicity which will 
always be remembered as outstanding 
hoaxes that really had the nation going 
while the effects lasted. One was the 
never to be forgotten scare in the old 
days during the "Flying Saucer" hoax. 

However, the latest hoax, which 
was internationally televised, continues, 
much to the great depreciation of the 
prestige of its authors. This hoax was 
so well presented that it even succeeded 
in suspending the Great War, at least 
temporarily, and for this the Democratic 
nations have already expressed their 
gratitude. But now the hoax is going 
too far. It wants to rule us! 

Reference is made to that unforgetta- 
ble night of December 17, 1970, when 
we were all treated to an impressive 
speech by one Rama Khan Tor, sup- 
posedly an Elder God who had come to 
help Agarthi save the world from its 
folly. He told us that within one year 
Agarthi would take over. That night 
we were also treated to $&pie expensive 
fireworks in several parts of the world, 
all of which must have cost several 
millions of dollars. Reports came in 
from everywhere that eyewitnesses had 



seen the thunderbolts of the "Elder 
Gods" striking down from outer space 
at the armies who were attacking 
Agarthi and various cities in Europe. 
The peculiar disappearance of Reims 
and Aachen and several villages in a 
severe earthquake at that time was an 
unusual circumstance on which the 
authors of the hoax sought to capitalize 
by saying that the bolts had "disinte- 
grated" them. So impressive was the 
clever spectacle, coupled as it was with 
the demoralizing disappearance of Nich- 
olas the First of Russia, that our en- 
emies at that time suspended their 
attacks and have since withdrawn, at 
least apparently so. But these are still 
very perilous times, and the price of 
American liberty will always be a strong 
American vigilance. We must always be 
quick to recognize a hoax when we see 
one, whiskers or no whiskers. If you do 
not think that this ultimatum of Agarthi 
to the nations of the world is a hoax, 
what do you suppose Agarthi could re- 
ply to this simple question — YOU AND 

Sorry not to be able to close on such 
a good punch line, but speaking of 
armies starts us to thinking. Ex-major 
Michael Kent, lately attached to the 
U. S. Army's Sixth Airforce, and pal 
of ex-captain Stephen Germain, lately 
of the U. S. Strategic Services, has been 
recruiting American volunteers for 
Agarthi. Not without success, we should 
add. Latest reports have it that some 
twenty thousand pilots and airmen in 
general, including many of Kent's own 
ex-commandos, have accepted free beers 
and transportation tickets to Nepal — 
oops! — Agarthi, as they have started 
calling it today. 

We know that the laws of the United 
States stipulate that any citizen who 
enlists in a foreign army automatically 
loses his citizenship. That makes our 

twenty thousand vets full blooded Agar- 
thians, bless their souls I But may we 
ask — what of the author of their civic 
demise? What happens to the citizen- 
ship of the recruiter, Mr. Michael Kent? 
If he wants to be a foreigner, too, why 
does he persist in making a harvest on 
soil which is, by rights, no longer his 
own? What's wrong with his making 
recruits out of all the erstwhile Nepalese 
who became Agarthians today by royal 
decree? Our boys have been dragged 
away from home often and long enough. 
Why not do something about Michael 
Kent and keep our boys at home? Be it 
ever so humble, there is no place like 
home— without termites! 

The boys down at Pops Roost oa 
North Clark Street were trying to 
drink beer, play Twenty Six, and 
come to a decision on world affairs, 
all at the same time. Peevy, the big 
fellow with a pock-marked face some- 
what of the color of lead, usually had 
the last word, and as usual he was 
making most of the decisions. 

"Dey oughtta be a law," he com- 
plained, sagely. 

Little Tony Coletti widened his 
big eyes and replied, "I donna know, 
Peevy. I see dissa fellow giva da 
speech on da televize datta night, an' 
I tell a you he was a da goods! 
Maybe we needa to be all a straighten 
out by somebody like a dees keeng of 
Agarcla, or watta you call it. Gat 
reed of de politico! an' keep outta de 
war! I had a keed in de war." Tony's 
eyes got watery. "Dey gotta heeml 
Dey keel a heeml I vote a now for 
any fellow who can a use a hees brain 
before he usa da bombaf" 

Sandy "Big Swede" Larson shoved 



back his straw hat from a sunburned 
forehead and took an enormous swig 
of beer. **Aw, shut up, Tony!" he 
said. "This Agarthi stuff is just a big 
religious racket to make money. The 
nerve of those guys! They aren't just 
cracked. They warita commit suicide, 

Peevy looked up from his dice at 
Sandy and there was trouble in his 
little, bloodshot eyes. "Don't tell 
Tony to shut up," he said. "He lost 
his kid in the war, didn't he? He's 
got a right t'talk!" 

"I got a right to an opinion, ain't 
I?** bellowed Sandy. "I say this 
Agarthi stuff is the bunk and some- 
body oughtta string this guy Kent 
up to a lamp post!" 

Peevy got to his feet and Tony 
ducked over to the bar. Pop, the 
proprietor, yelled in falsetto, "Out- 
side now boys! This is a respectable 
place! No fighting!" 

"I say shut up because you don't 
know what you're yappin' about!" 
said Peevy to Larson. 

"And I say you're an ignorant 
bonehead!" replied the latter, also 
getting up. 

And so it started, a brawl that 
traveled to the street and ended that 
night in the local precinct's "cooler. H 

But this was typical of the general 
situation. People were forming a lot 
of sharply opposed opinions and ar- 
guments originated at the drop of a 
hat. Out in Cicero some shots were 
fired over the issue and one of the 
contestants was killed. 

Through all this the big New Capi- 
tol Building on Michigan Boulevard 
remained aloof and non-committal. 

As the sun went down and a stifling 
summer night began to dominate the 
world, lights blinked on in the execu- 
tive wing. The President and his spe- 
cial committees were working over- 
time . . . 

Michael Kent started out early for 
the Airborne Veterans' banquet at 
the La Salle, where he had been in- 
vited to be the guest speaker. The 
banquet was scheduled for eight, but 
he had started out in a taxi at seven 
because he wanted to take a careful 
look at the place. Ever since he had 
gotten his left arm shriveled by a 
death ray in Santa Cruz, he had de- 
veloped a precaution complex. He 
was a fighting man, and the mortifi- 
cation of not being able to fight any- 
more had made him squeamish about 
being taken at a disadvantage. 

This night there were plenty of 
reasons for taking precautions. For 
one thing, the news was out about 
Agarthi. Public opinion was aroused 
against his recruiting activities. 
There might even be tar and feather- 
ing or lynching parties under way, 

The vets were largely for him, be- 
cause he talked their language and 
was a well known vet, himself, per- 
manently scarred by the war. They 
were mostly young bloods who had 
not yet finished with adventure, and 
they believed in what he said. But 
this time he had let the cat out of the 
bag. He had announced only today 
that he was going to bowl them over 
with some heretofore unknown facts. 

Evidently some of the Airborne 
Veterans had decided to come early, 
also, because when Kent sauntered 



into the lobby of the La Salle, three 
of them came to welcome him. Tall, 
strong boys, alert and keen eyed, 
cut off from the war's adventure too 
soon, he thought to himself. These 
vets believed in what Kent adver- 
tised: Nationalism had served its 
time; Universalism was the next logi- 
cal step, the only remaining defense 
against war and destruction. Agarthi 
could establish Universalism blood- 
lessly in a short length of time and 
start the groundwork for the building 
of a vast, Utopian world, but it 
needed a few willing hands— not for 
a war against civilization, but for a 
war against the last true enemies of 
peace and security and progress — the 
Nameless Ones and their huge cartel 
control groups. 

Kent knew most of the local vets, 
but he did not recognize these three 
fellows. He shook hands, anyway, at 
the same time casually scanning the 
room for suspicious looking char- 

"We*re from Council Bluffs," said 
one of the vets, a lean faced fellow 
with a scar on his left cheek that 
zig-zagged like a bolt of lightning. 

"And he," said the second vet, 
waving his thumb at vet number 
three," is from a little oasis on the 
Nebraskan plains called — what was 
the name?" he queried of the third 

"Don't tell me," smiled Kent. 
"He's from Omaha. When are your 
two towns ever going to quit feud- 

By this time they had arrived at 
the hotel's oasis, which was the bar, 
and they all ensconced themselves in 

a booth behind a table with a red 
morocco top. Brinks were ordered 
subconsciously and cigarettes blov 
somed leisurely out. Except for Kent. 
He stayed with his pipe. 

This was a very nice approach, 
thought Kent, but his mind was not 
as slow as they figured. At first he 
had really taken them for vets, but 
now he was thinking differently. He 
was in the middle of what could be 
termed a trap. His sudden suspicions 
had caused him to use the gadget in 
his skull to read their minds, and 
the facts were quite clear. These 
were agents of the U. S. cartel con- 
trol group, than which there were no 
killers with colder blood or greater 

However, he bided his time and 
still kept looking around the room as 
the conversation gradually drifted to- 
ward Agarthi and world government. 
He was very much surprised to rec- 
ognize one chap at the bar who hid 
his face from him. That purple birth- 
mark on the right ear was a dead 
give away, but aside from that Kent 
would have recognized his wiry, ath- 
letic frame and that wavy, sandy 
hair anywhere. Sam Turner, of the 
FBI, ex track champion, all around 
expert and instructor in the art of 
self-defense, from Judo to fencing. 
A good looking boy, and one of the 
top agents. Wherever he went, it 
was like the smoke that preceded a 
fire. Sure to be trouble. 

But Kent really sat up straight in 
his seat when he saw the pudgy- 
faced, stockily built fellow who was 
playing cards behind a cigar over in 
the corner. Few would know him, 


because he never allowed himself to 
be photographed, but Kent knew 
those heavily jeweled, fat looking 
fingers that could pop tennis balls, 
that shiny, wavy black hair and the 
predominantly Greek look about him. 
There was also enough Asiatic in 
him to slant his eyes slightly. Few 
would have suspected that he held 
the position he did, for he hid it well 
under an old world taciturnity and 
craftiness that was a heritage from 
seafaring ancestors in and about the 
Agean. And there was enough Ger- 
man in him to make him stubborn. 
Greg "Baby Face" Stierman, one of 
the country's leading citizens and 
one of the most dangerous men alive 
to involve in an argument if you 
were playing for keeps. Hobbies: rare 
and beautiful jewels, one of the 
world's leading connoisseurs; chess, 
one of the master players ; knife 
throwing, the deadliest thrower in 
the recorded history of the art, be- 
cause he had studied it, and what he 
studied he perfected to an abnormal 
extreme. Such a versatile and peculiar 
man was the Chief of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation, who seldom 
appeared in public. 

To Kent, the presence of Turner 
and Stierman here together could 
mean only one thing. They must be 
out after the big time agents who 
had cornered him. It was a great 
consolation to have them so close at 

"Have some of the recruits actual- 
ly become Golden Guardsmen yet?" 
queried the fellow with the lightning 
streak for a scar. 

"Why don't you slickers tell me 

what you really want and get it over 
with?" said Kent. "You're no more 
vets than I'm a bat-winged canary I" 

"Scar Face" looked astounded and 
hurt. "What are you talking about?" 
he asked. 

"What do you take me for?" re- 
torted Kent. "A campfire girl? I've 
been around, boys I If only one of 
you had come from Council Bluffs 
or Omaha wearing a two hundred 
dollar suit and a penthouse shirt and 
tie I'd have taken the bait. But 
there are no three honest vets from 
a couple of midwest towns who can 
all afford the same expensive tastes. 
You're phonies, so confess your 
racket and let's get this over with. 
What do you want?" 

The three of them looked signif- 
icantly at each other and simultane- 
ously extinguished their cigarettes in 
the same ashtray. 

"Okay," said "Scar Face." "We 
want you. Our car is in the alley." 

"Before we leave," said Kent, 
groping for strategy, "I want to tell 
you that I knew you'd look me up 
tonight. That's why I walked right 
into your little set up. I've got a 
message for your boss that's worth 
one million bucks." What he was re- 
ally thinking about was how not to 
get a skull massage before he could 
take care of them. His plan was to 
get them into the alley and knock 
them out with the paralysis ray. He 
knew that the FBI would be on his 
heels, and he would be only too glad 
to turn over his charges to 1 them, but 
he did not want the FBI to know 
about his special powers yet. 

As they all got up to leave, with 



no comment being made on his last 
statement, Kent saw with satisfaction 
that "Iron Man" Stierman was 
squinting through his halo of cigar 
smoke at Sam Turner. That was 
enough. They were "on." 

When the alley was reached, the 
three agents grabbed him and got 
ready to knock him out, for easier 
handling. Two held his arms, and 
"Scar Face" stood in front of him 
warming up his knuckles as though 
he were enjoying his work. It was 
going to be a devastating haymaker 
on the button. Kent got so mad at 
the injustice of it that he almost for- 
got about the paralysis ray. 

He was just about to use it when 
six big fellows stepped out of the 
darkness, some of them swinging 
blackjacks — at the three agents. 
"Scar Face" ducked and flashed a 
gun, but dropped it with a groan of 
pain as a knife "placked" through 
the bones of his hand and stuck 
there rigidly. 

"We want this to be a quiet party," 
said Stierman, calmly taking the fel- 
low's bloody hand and extracting bis 
knife while an assistant began to 
apply handcuffs. 

"Scar Face" aimed a foul blow 
at him, but Stierman met his leg 
with a bone breaking Judo blow, 
simultaneously raising his elbow 
sharply under the other's chin as it 
came howling down. This flipped his 
head violently upward, and Stierman 
threw a quick piledriver into his 
arching solar plexis, with one foot 
behind the other's feet. "Scar Face," 
broken, bleeding, and out, fell Kke 

tall timber. And Stierman had not 
even disturbed the natty angle of the 
ruby stickpin in his tie. The other 
two agents had been taken care of 
from the first moment of attack by 
the FBI men. 

"Much obliged, Stierman," said 

"Much obliged, yourself," replied 
the FBI chief. "We want you, too, 
you know." 

"Mel" said Kent. "What's the 

"Suspicion — or you name it," 
sighed Stierman, standing quietly and 
immaculately near the light of a 
glazed bathroom window and polish- 
ing one of his jeweled rings. "The 
President wants to see you." 

"In that case 111 be happy to go 
along, because as a matter of fact 
I — " 

"In any case," said Stierman, paus- 
ing to glare at him, "you'll go along." 

Kent liked Stierman. A very thor- 
ough man. He would not have liked 
to use the paralysis ray on him. Be- 
sides, he wanted to see the President 
now more than he wanted to see the 
Airborne Vets . . . 

The President of the United States 
was a tall, lanky man with a long, 
homely face and fire in his eyes. Some 
people called him the second "Abe," 
but he lacked Lincoln's deliberate 
slowness and calmness, as well as his 
inherent greatness. Still, he was a 
highly intelligent and energetic exec- 
utive who would have preferred being 
guided by principles rather than by 
politics, if circumstances permitted. 

"I think you're * good man," he 



was saying to Kent in his private 
office in the executive wing of the 
Capitol, "and that's why I dislike 
seeing you hook your horse up to the 
wrong wagon. What makes you think 
that Agarthi could possibly presume 
to tell the whole world what to do?" 

"That question," smiled Kent, 
"will be answered tomorrow." 

"The President," said Stierman, 
who sat close beside him, "can't wait 
until tomorrow. He is a busy man. 
He wants an answer now." 

Together with Stierman and Sam 
Turner there were two others in the 
room. Lieutenant, Colonel George 
Henry Brion, new Chief of the O.S.S. 
Six feet two, big fisted, a box-like 
square face and black, curly hair, 
gray eyes, and one artificial leg which 
few people knew about. Then there 
was the man called "Little Willy," 
alias James William Grange, D.S., 
Ph.D., special technical aide attached 
to the O.S.S. 

These four men, alone, had been 
secretly assigned by the President 
exclusively to the case of Agarthi. 
The President knew much more than 
what he read in the newspapers. He 
knew there was a great deal behind 
Agarthi, but he wanted to measure 
that "great deal" carefully before 
issuing any public statements. His 
opening derogatory remarks had been 
merely to egg Kent on. 

"Well," said Kent, finally, "since 
I have the advantage of your undi- 
vided attention, Mr. President, I'd 
like to speak very clearly and frank- 
ly. You must realize that I know a 
lot of big inside facts which a lot 
of big people would like to keep un- 

der cover. If there is anyone present 
who should not hear such inside facts, 
you had better advise them to go 
now, because this is going to be the 
Naked Truth." 

"I anticipated such a discussion," 
said the President, who was doodling 
on his desk calendar in a strangely 
tense and preoccupied way. "The 
gentlemen present represent a Spe- 
cial Service group, directly attached 
to my office until further notice. You 
may speak your mind, Mr. Kent." 

"Okay, then here it is. You know 
as well as I do that Agarthi is real 
and earnest, and that if any group 
of men in the world is capable of 
governing all nations it is the Agar- 
thian Elders. I gave you my entire 
story six months ago and presented 
indisputable proofs to you about 
Agarthi, so let's not take time by 
questioning that point." 

"Just a minute," interrupted Bri- 
on. "Mr. President, is it true that 
you have been presented with indis- 
putable proof that Agarthi is what 
it pretends to be — a place of supe- 
rior wisdom and science?" 

Turner and Grange looked ex- 
pectantly at the Chief Executive, 
while Stierman calmly lighted a 

"Yes," said the President, uncon- 
ditionally. "Go on, Mr. Kent." 
Brion and Turner and Grange now 
listened to Kent with highly aroused 
interest. Stierman *s features were ex- 
pressionless. ■{ 

"You also know very *well," con- 
tinued Kent, "that nationalism has 
served its time, that this great new 
Age of Power calls urgently for the 



nest step in the evolution of human 
society — Universal Government — 
Mankind's last hope for survival. If 
such a universal improvement is not 
made quickly, you know it is in- 
evitable that we will all be involved 
in more and more devastating wars. 
Even now the New Germany Party 
is starting on a Hitlerian course 
whose purpose is to conquer the 
world, as usual, and we're liable to 
have another war of Domination on 
our hands, this time backed up by 
weapons which were devised by the 
Elder Gods, themselves." 

"Gentlemen," said the President, as 
Sam Turner opened his mouth to 
speak, "all this concerning Elder Gods 
is true/ Mr. Kent has shown me 
physical proofs and given me tele- 
vised as well as telepathic evidence." 

"Telepathic?" asked Stierman, 
raising his brows enough to look at 
his boss. 

Yes, telepathed Kent to everybody 
in the room. Didn't you know it was 

"My God! " exclaimed Brion. 
Turner's mouth went agape. Stier- 
man lay his cigar on his ashtray, 
leaned back in his chair attentively, 
and said, "You have the floor, Mr. 

"Now we come to the spectacular 
part," said Kent. "Mr. President, 
forgive me for dragging out of the 
closet of leading statesmen the world 
over a very nasty skeleton. You are 
all secret catspaws to international 
bosses who control the world's gov- 
ernment and finance and politics as 
though they were gods. All political 
speeches during major election cam- 

paigns sound about the same, and 
the results are about the same after 
a candidate to public office is elected, 
because before he ever starts, his 
course is prescribed as though by the 
hand of Fate, itself. These bosses are 
the sole dispensers of Power and In- 
fluence. The world is so well geared 
to obey their mandates that to upset 
the system would be cataclysmic. 
Still, that system must be upset. For 
as long as it continues there can 
never be such a thing as truth and 
honor among common men. Look at 
today's reaction to the news about 
Agarthi. Can't you see there the in- 
fluence of the cartel bosses? They 
can't afford to let Agarthi win, be- 
cause that means the end of self- 
centered Power and Influence in the 

"Again," said the President to the 
others present, "to avoid time con- 
suming conversation I must tell you 
a fact which it will endanger your 
lives to know, but since danger is 
your business I'll inform you between 
these four, sound-proof walls. I am 
breaking a sort of unwritten "Aris- 
totelean oath" of governing execu- 
tives the world over and am also 
taking my own life in my hands to 
confess it. But the fact is, gentlemen, 
all presidents and kings and dicta- 
tors, except for a few renegades like 
Nicholas the First, are subject to the 
orders of higher rulers, gangster type 
bosses of the super cartel combines 
that own and control all things, di- 
rectly or indirectly. They hold the 
strings of Power and Influence and 
must be obeyed. Since they own the 
owners of the press and radio and 



television and motion pictures and 
all such tooJs which are utilized for 
the shaping of public opinion, they 
can shape the public mind and make 
it believe anything that is convenient 
to their plans. Before the days of 
printing presses and all the other 
modern day devices, they had other 
systems which were fully as subtle 
and effective. They have always ruled 
the rulers down through history, but 
much more successfully, or I should 
say on a much grander scale, since 
the advent of capitalism and the ma- 
chine age." The President leaned 
forward, very earnestly. "What you 
gentlemen were led to believe was 
going to be a little cross-examination 
of our friend, Mr. Kent, has become, 
therefore, a desperate conference of 
brave men who must wonder if they 
are not on the threshold of attempt- 
ing something unprecedented in the 
annals of political history — the 
throwing off of the yoke of these 
Men of Power and the opening of 
the eyes and minds and hearts of all 
Mankind to this naked truth, so that 
the simple human faith of a man in 
his fellow man will henceforth prove 
to be a working proposition, so that 
leaders and thinkers can truly lead!" 

Grange, Turner, Brion and Stier- 
man had never seen the President get 
so worked up about anything before. 
He was tense, dramatic, and in a 
rage. His fist even crashed on the 

"Gentlemen, I tell you that if the 
presidents and kings and prime min- 
isters of all governments were re- 
leased from the power of these inter- 
national bosses the world's problems 

would be solved in six months ! " He 
looked at them all fiercely and gave 
them a bitter smile. "Did you really 
think it was a problem to avoid wars 
and famine and ignorance and human 
suffering? It is true what has so often 
been said, that a child could find the 
answers I But what always compli- 
cated things was the eternal chess 
game played by these mighty ones 
who must always hedge for advantage 
and power, so that they can offer the 
bait to those who will forever be 
willing to buy that power and influ- 
ence with their very souls I I refer 
you to the case of Abraham Lincoln, 
one among many which could be 
mentioned. His great work of Eman- 
cipation was his own desire. He re- 
sisted the Control factions, but he 
had to tear the country apart to do 
it. And although his great spirit 
brought him success, he was quickly 
assassinated, which is the fate of all 
leaders who resist the 'system'." The 
President pointed at Kent. "What I 
called Mr. Kent here for was to find 
out one thing once and for all. This 
may amaze you, gentlemen, but I 
have reached a certain desperate de- 
cision. What I have said here to you 
tonight and what I could say still 
further would mean my assassination 
within a half hour of making it pub- 
lic. Now look here. I am a states- 
man and regrettably but necessarily a 
politician. But before all else I con- 
sider Mankind. It is far more im- 
portant to me than the\ antiquated 
tradition of nationalism when it 
comes down to a matter of choosing 
between survival of the two. I am 
convinced that Universal ism is the 


next step. Presidents before me 
should have led the way years ago 
and boldly opened the discussion of 
a world constitution with the mem- 
bers of the U.N. when that organiza- 
tion was first established— and be- 
fore it perished. If this had been 
done in time we would never have 
seen a Russian-made War of Dom- 
ination. Now I occupy the same posi- 
tion in the world as those previous 
presidents. I am no better than they. 
I am as enmeshed as my predecessors 
in this secret system of political servi- 
tude to the international bosses. But 
I do see clearly that the only thing 
that will cleanse this foul disease 
from the body of all humankind is 
for one man such as myself to be 
willing to die for his convictions and, 
once and for all, place principle be- 
fore politics/" His eyes blazed. 
"Therefore, gentlemen, if Mr. Kent 
is able to give me proof that Agarthi 
can back up its claims to the limit, 
I'll take my stand before Congress 
and before the world, and I'll tell 
them exactly what I have told you — 
the Naked Truth. And I'll be the 
first to recommend a world wide ac- 
ceptance of Universalism under the 
Agarthian plan — though it cost me 
my life! 

"Mr. Kent," said the President, 
gently, as Kent sat there silently 
staring at him, "your pipe has gone 

Kent stood up and stretched his 
legs and sauntered very happily over 
to a position beside the President, 
and then turned and looked at the 

"I have good news," he said, as 


calmly as possible. 

The President and everybody else 
looked at him wonderingly. 

"First of all," he said, "the sys- 
tem of the international bosses is 
breaking down. Mr. President, please 
explain to the gentlemen present who 
Peter Trimble is." 

"Peter Trimblel" the President 
gasped, both fearfully and hopefully. 
"Why he's the top boss of all the 
U. S. cartel combines 1 The name he 
goes by in public is James Sylvester 
Addison, President of United Alum- 
inum." Brion and Stierman's eyes 
widened. "He reports directly to the 
Berlin Control Council." 

"Use the past tense there," cor- 
rected Kent, watching the other men 
closely. "He is now a prisoner in 
Agarthi, along with Antonio Velarde, 
the Latin American boss, and before 
another day goes by we hope to have 
Lord Mercyfield by the coat tails. 
He, as you may or may not know, 
is the boss man of the British Empire 
combines. We have full, recorded evi- 
dence against all these men, as well 
as against the remainder of the world 

"My Godl" exclaimed the Presi- 
dent. "How is it possible 1" 

"Trade secrets," grinned Kent. 

Stierman was now beginning to 
take a deep interest in the develop- 
ments. For the first time he was be- 
ginning to be sincerely impressed 
with Kent. Still, he had a question. 

"If Trimble was the boss," he said, 
"and if he has been removed from 
power, why are the newspapers still 
playing his game and telling lies'" 

"Inertia," said Kent. "It will take 



time before people realize that they 
can be truthful and actually get 
away with it." 

"But they'll select other bosses 
taster than you can close in on 
theml" said the President. 

"You say they," said Kent as be 
puffed quietly on his pipe. "Whom 
do you mean?" 

The President looked as though he 
were at a loss for words. "You ex- 
plain that one for me, will you, 

"AH right." Kent addressed the 
other men. "Underneath Berlin is a 
group of six men who are called the 
Nameless Ones. They have unusual 
powers and they are the lords and 
masters of these international bosses. 
In short, they run the world. They 
are the sole authors of the New 
Germany movement. They are even 
now placing Elder God machines and 
weapons in preparation for a mass 
assault on the world and Agarthi as 

"It looks," said Stierman, "as 
though Agarthi were trying to buck 
up against a two-headed hydra. But 
may I ask a pertinent question here? 
Where are Agarthi's big teeth? Where 
is the strong right arm, the con- 
trolling force that is going to out- 
balance all the current military pow- 
er of the world? I'm practical, like 
most people. All I can understand, 
let us say for the sake of argument, 
is power. Where is it?" 

Again Kent smiled. "That," he 
said, you will see tomorrow at noon, 
and so will London and Paris and 
Moscow and Rome and Buenos Aires 
and Tokyo and Shanghai and a few 

other capitals." 

The President tugged at the sleeve 
of Kent's withered left arm. "Don't 
be difficult," he said. "What will we 
see tomorrow at noon?" 

"Gentlemen," replied Kent, highly 
elated, "you will see some giant bat- 
tleships floating in the air above 
Lake Michigan. Space skips/ Ships 
that can carry emigrants in suspend- 
ed animation a hundred years 
through interstellar space in search 
of other worlds on which to live, ships 
that could take you to Mars and back 
in ten days, powerful dreadnaughts 
that could overwhelm any major 
navy, army or airforce in the world, 
single handed, and never get scratch- 
ed 1 The Agarthians built them on 
the patterns of the actually existent 
Elder God space ships of fifty thou- 
sand years ago, which still lie in 
their docks in the lower caverns of 

"My God I" exclaimed Brion. "It 
sounds like a Martian invasion 1" 

Sam Turner scratched his purple 
ear and shook his yellow topped 
head. "I don't get it," he said. "Too 
much for mel I'll just wait until 

"Mr. President," said Kent, "the 
purpose of this visit by a portion of 
the Agarthian space navy is to answer 
the very question which Mr. Stier- 
man has stated: Where are Agarthi's 
big teeth? I have been requested by 
Agarthi to ask for your cooperation 
in this matter." * 

"Now I'll be glad to cooperate," 
replied the President, "but how?" 

"By taking a belligerant attitude 
and ordering us out of the United 


States on the grounds that our pres- 
ence without the government's per- 
mission is illegal. Nobody will get 
hurt. The ships will merely remain 
silent and uncommunicative for sev- 
eral hours, during which time the 
anti-aircraft units of the local garri- 
sons, and the TJ. S. Army Airforce, 
should be called out in the greatest 
strength possible to attack the ships. 
Attack them with all the live ammu- 
nition you want, because you can't 
hit them no matter what you do. 

"After several hours of witnessing 
such fireworks, the ships will move 
closer to Chicago, and then Stephen 
Germain will address the entire 
United States from the leadship, over 
a powerful transmitter on board." 

"Germain!" exclaimed the Presi- 
dent. "So he is returning at last I" 

"Yes. He will explain to every- 
body the entire social platform of the 
King of the World. After he finishes 
what he has to say, you will be in- 
vited on board, and there you'll have 
your chance to tell the truth to the 
nation — and nothing but the truth. 
If you were to speak on regular tele- 
vision hookups you'd be cut off be- 
fore you got started and somebody 
would make the lame excuse about 
technical difficulties beyond their 
control, and you'd be taken suddenly 
£ ill' and nobody would get to hear 
you finish. But on board an Agar- 
thian battle cruiser you'll be pro- 
tected and you won't be cut off." 

The President sprang to his feet. 
He extended his hand to Kent, while 
his face beamed with the inspiration 
of a lifetime dream. "I'll take you up 
on that! " he said. 

The other men in the room were 
too dazed and amazed to get to their 

Kent was awakened by the sound 
of shouting. It was nearly noon. 
He rolled over on his back and lay 
in bed listening as the sun crept in 
through his open window along with 
a welcome breeze from the lake. It 
was one man shouting, down on the 
street, and Kent could hear his words. 

"We have had enough of decep- 
tion!" he was shouting. "This traitor, 
Michael Kent, who has come like a 
malicious pied piper into our midst 
to lure our young veterans away from 
their homes again, should and must 
be driven out!" 

Kent hurriedly put on his clothes 
and went outside. He saw a huge 
crowd of several hundred people lis- 
tening to a raving soap box artist. 

Kent walked slowly toward the 
wild-eyed men that formed the van- 
guard of the crowd, keeping his mind . 
clearly aware of the paralysis ray, 
the operation of which was a matter 
of the will. He stopped, practically 
in their midst, and raised his good 
arm for silence. 

"Friends, listen to me!" he 

A warning flashed into his brain, 
but it was too late. A big rock came 
flying and hit his head. 

"Traitorl" somebody yelled at 

And they all grabbed him. He was 
too dizzy with pain to defend himself. 
Brutal hands tore at him. His cloth- 
ing was ripped and he was lifted 
Hodily into the air. 



"Give it to him good I " shouted 
the crowd. "The dirty stinkerl We 
don't want foreigners or traitorsl 
Let's ride him clear out of the state 
on a rail!" 

Kent tried to grin through a swol- 
len eye and a bleeding lip. 

"When traitors are accused," he 
said, "they are given a chance to say 
a word in their own defense. How 
about it?" 

"Shut his big mouth!" somebody 

"Give him his last word!" some- 
one else argued. 

"Okay! The last word hell ever 
speak in America!" cried another. 

So Kent got up and shouted, "I 
plead guilty of the crime — if crime 
it is — of fighting for universal wel- 

"Boo!" retorted the crowd instant- 


"None of that Agarthi baloney!" 
cried a ringsider close at hand. 
"That's fake!" 

"Fake! Fake! Fake!" boomed 
the crowd. 

Kent raised his good right hand 
and gained a loophole in the din. He 
had looked at his watch a second 
before — one of the few things which 
had, miraculously, remained on him. 

"In twenty minutes," he shouted, 
"I can give you proof about Agarthi 
— proof that you'll never forget to 
your dying day!" The crowd began 
going bug-eyed and shushing itself 
to hear him. "You have all day to 
beat me to a pulp if that's the kind 
of sport you like, but all I'm asking 
for is twenty minutes in which to 
prove beyond any shadow of a doubt 

that I am right — and that all of yon 
have been shamefully deceived by 
the newspapers you read! Just twenty 
minutes ! " 

The crowd was stumped. But it 
finally broke loose again. 

"Dunk him in the lakel" they 

"No! " shouted a fellow with a beer 
belly. Give him his twenty minutes 
and then we'll let him really have it!" 

"Okay I Twenty minutes 1 Set 
your watches, boys!" 

Kent showed his watch to "Beer 
Belly," and from that the time was 
given to everybody. The crowd got 
very quiet and waited. Kent sat ex- 
hausted on the wagon and watched 

If they got premature and tried to 
injure him he was going to use the 
paralysis ray. Suddenly very much 
aware of the mechanism in his head, 
he sent out a telepathic call to 
Stephen Germain, who by now should 
have been descending out of space 
into the Earth's atmosphere far 
above him, he reasoned. 

Germain! he telepathed. How 
soon will you arrive? 

And Germain answered back, 
Promptly at twelve, Slim, old boy! 
Keep your shirt on! We're just slic- 
ing the Kenniston-Heavyside layer. 

My shirt's gone o§ my back, he 
sent back, so I can't keep it on. I'm 
in a pickle, or rather I'm about to be 
a pickle. I'm sitting out here in pub- 
lic disgrace and disarray, with about 
fifteen minutes of grafe to spare. If 
you don't speed it I'll have to 
start paralyzing some people, and 
I'm liable to get shot for it. 



Germain's thought delayed for a 
moment. Then: We'll take care of 
you quickly. Where are you? 

In front of the Lake Shore Manor. 

Be right down. We are shielding 
you against the sleep ray, so you 
know what to expect. We have you 
here now in the visiscreen. Jumpin' 
catfish! They really mussed you up! 
Hold tight! We're coming in! 

Slightly before twelve o'clock noon 
the people of Chicago and especially 
the people on Michigan Boulevard, 
saw a huge, submarine shaped vessel 
appear in the sky and descend rapid- 
ly toward the ground. A second vessel 
appeared, and a third, but these lat- 
ter remained aloft, hovering silently 
over the lake at an altitude of about 
five thousand feet. 

As the first vessel dashed ponder- 
ously downward toward the Lake 
Shore the huge crowd there began to 
disperse in hysterical confusion. But 
before they could trample each other 
seriously they all slowed to a stand- 
still and looked in awe at the sky. 
With their mouths agape in astonish- 
ment, they slumped to the ground 
with hardly a murmur. Thousands 
of people were lying about every- 
where, and at first the spectators on 
the outskirts of the crowd thought 
that the invaders had merciless- 
ly killed them in some manner, but 
it was soon determined that they were 
merely enjoying a deep and peaceful 

The bedraggled figure of Michael 
Kent looked very lonely and forlorn 
as the shadow of the descending ship 
engulfed him. He alone was not 

sleeping. He was on his feet and 
looking upward. Spectators from the 
Manor House saw the ship come to 
a stop only twenty feet above the 
lamp posts.' 

Immediately, a small door opened 
in the belly of the ship and a sort of 
square, telescoping shaft extended 
itself down to the ground. No crude 
rope ladder for Kent; this was an 
elevator! He got in it and a cage 
was seen to rise in the shaft. When 
it had entered the ship, the shaft 
telescoped back into the ship's belly. 
Then the huge vessel began to rise 
again, and it finally joined its two 
companions in the sky over Lake 
Michigan. No wings, propellors or 
rocket tubes were seen on these ships, 
nor did they make any sound that 
could be heard below. They just hung 
there silently and nothing more oc- 
curred except that the people who 
had fallen asleep began to wake up 
and look sheepishly at each other. 
They looked up at the ships, which 
they could not doubt were from 
Agarthi, and then they looked still 
more sheepish. So Kent was right! 

Gradually, two and two began to 
be put together. Those miraculous 
ships could only mean that the whole 
story was true — Rama Khan Tor, the 
Elder God who had spoken to the 
world on December 17, 1970 over 
an international television broadcast 
from his great ship at Agarthi had 
been real all the time! 

Now the pendulum of public opin- 
ion began to swing the other way. 
"We have been deceived!" they 
shouted by the thousands, and they 



crowded the beaches to watch in 
wonderment the silent and motion- 
less ships out there above the lake. 
This was an event which they, and 
the hot dog and ice cream vendors, 
would never forget. 

By one o'clock, papers appearing 
in special editions on the streets and 
special radio-television announce- 
ments informed the public that the 
United States Government had estab- 
lished television communication with 
the Agarthians and had advised them 
that their presence was illegal, as no 
permission had been granted to enter 
U. S. skies in vessels that were ob- 
viously equipped for combat. An 
ultimatum was given that if by three 
P.M. they were not gone they would 
be openly attacked by the combined 
ground, sea and air forces of the U. 
S. Army and Navy. 

The Agarthians, however, re- 
mained where they were . . . 

National Guards and the Army 
regulars worked swiftly to clear the 
beaches, but the spectators took to 
the rooftops. Anti-aircraft batteries 
were set up on the beaches, and sev- 
eral proud cruisers appeared omin- 
ously on the lake, their anti-aircraft 
guns poipted aloft. 

At three P.M., the thunder of sev- 
eral hundred anti-aircraft guns was 
heard, and the three Agarthian ships 
were engulfed in the smoke and flame 
of bursting shells, or almost. It was 
observed that an area remained clear 
of explosions around their hulls for a 
depth of a hundred yards or so, as 
though neither shells nor shrapnel 
could penetrate a certain invisible 
protective screen that seemed to sur- 

round the ships. 

Then the cruisers turned their big 
guns upward and fired heavy calibre 
high velocity shells, but the shells 
were seen to disappear in blinding 
flashes of light before they could do 
any harm. They ceased firing after a 
half hour of useless effort. 

In the meantime, about five hun- 
dred swift Army jet planes with 
rocket cannons filled the Sunday af- 
ternoon sky with flame, but also to 
no avail. The Agarthian ships were 
too close to Chicago for bombing 
maneuvers or for using atomic 
bombs, so no bombers appeared. 

At precisely four P.M., the Agar- 
thian flagship that had picked Kent 
up left the other two and sank to a 
level of two thousand feet. Then it 
moved majestically in over the city. 

"Citizens of America!" boomed the 
greatly amplified voice of Stephen 
Germain from the flagship, so that 
about a million spectators on the 
rooftops and in the streets could 
hear him plainly. His voice and 
image were being broadcast by radio- 
television to all the forty-eight states 
simultaneously as he spoke. "This is 
the voice of A%arih%! Agarthi comes 
to you and all the world today offer- 
ing you truth, and the strength to 
abolish deception forever from the 
face of the Earth, so that Mankind 
may enter the promised Millenium of 
uninterrupted peace and prog, ess 1" 

During the next astounding hour, 
the people heard expounded the plan 
and social platform of the King of 
the World, just as it had been re- 
vealed to Rocky in the Administra- 



tion Library of the Palace in Agarthi. 

When the speech was finished, the 
President of the United States was 
invited to come on board and ex- 
press his opinion to the nation. The 
President accepted. He went on 
board with Turner, Brion, Stierman 
and Dr. Grange and was joined there 
by. a refreshed and redressed Michael 
Kent, who introduced Germain and 
his wife and the ship's captain to 
everyone. In the radio-television 
broadcasting chamber of the great 
space vessel, the President lost no 
time in giving the speech that shook 
the world. 

"As the President of the United 
States of America," he said to his 
great audience, "I am a statesman 
and a politician, the one by defini- 
tion and the other by necessity. As 
such it is naturally to be expected 
that I make a political speech." He 
paused for a full quarter of a min- 
ute, while over two hundred million 
people waited. "But I cannot do so 
under the circumstances," he con- 
tinued in a voice suddenly filled with 
emotion. His long face acquired the 
hardness of flint as he glared into 
the televisor at the world. "/ must 
break all precedents — and tell you 
only — the Naked Truth/" 

And he did. He told about the 
cartel bosses and how public opinion 
was -shaped by them, how they made 
of truth and honor and faith but 
cardboard shams to suit their own 
purposes, and how human progress 
was virtually impossible while they 

He was just beginning to explain 
how the plans of Agarthi provided 

the best solution to all the major 
problems of human society, when 
something went wrong . . . 

First of aH, the television and 
radio transmitters on board burned 
out and melted down into an irrepair- 
able mass of junk. The President's 
voice and image were instantly 
blotted out. The last his audience 
saw of him, his eyes were filled with 
a sudden fear. 

The Agarthian Ray operators de- 
tected the influence of a heat ray that 
could only have been generated by 
Elder weapons operated by the 
Nameless Ones. They immediately 
threw out the ray guard screens. 

But their shield had gone out too 
late to block the teletransportation 
beams that kidnapped two of the 
most important persons on board — ■ 
Stephen and Lillian Germain! They 
merely disappeared into thin air . . . 

But this was not all . . . 

Even after the guard screens went 
up, three unwelcome visitors came 
brazenly on board, or rather it should 
be said that they appeared on board. 
They appeared in the broadcasting 
chamber, just in front of the Presi- 
dent. Tall men, immaculately dressed 
in tuxedos and wearing monocles, but 
with something peculiarly, nameless- 
ly missing about their faces! 

Greg Stierman, Turner and Brion, 
closed in. But they felt like fishes 
out of water when their hands grasp- 
ed thin air instead of flesh and bone I 

"They're ghosts!" exclaimed Turn- 
er, turning pale. 

Stierman and Brion stood there 
tensely, watching the three immacu- 



late figures as they surrounded the 
President. In the presence and atti- 
tude of these three strangers, every- 
one in that room, including the help- 
less Agarthian technicians, sensed an 
all encompassing evil which was like 
a mind-dimming mist, something 
that struck at the roots of the sub- 
conscious and scared up mortal fear, 
like a bat-winged thing from the 

The only words one of them spoke 
were directed at the President: "Did 
you really think you could get away 
with it?" 

The President suddenly found 
himself. He straightened up rather 
proudly and succeeded in dominating 
his instinctive fears. 

"I recognize you now," he said 
calmly but very gravely. "You are 
the Nameless Ones who presume to 
control the world. I know you have 
come to kill me as you have killed all 
others before me who sought to speak 
the truth. Well, go ahead! You can 
erase me, but not what I have just 
said to several hundred million peo- 
ple. If this is the occasion for saying 
last words, then let mine be these: 
/ regret that I have only one life to 
give — forMankind!" 

From the foreheads of the Name- 
less Ones, miniature streaks of light- 
ning flashed out to converge upon the 
President's head. He sighed, as 
though choked with pain, and then 
he dropped dead to the floor. 

Whereupon, the Nameless Ones 
disappeared . . . 

In that room were, besides Stier- 
man, Brion, Turner and Kent, the 

first mate and two broadcast oper- 
ators. The Agarthians did not speak 
English, except for their captain, and 
he had gone away earlier with Dr. 
Grange to examine the ship. 

Stierman spoke to Kent. U I and 
Brion and Turner," he said, "are 
responsible for the President. We'd 
appreciate some help in tracing down 
the true assassins. Would you mind 
educating us as to what happened 
exactly, and how it happened?" 

Kent looked pale and sick as he 
regarded the President's quiet form 
on the floor. Turner and Brion knelt 
down and picked him up. They put 
the dead executive in a comfortable 
chair, somehow unable to recognize 
the fact that the great man who had 
been speaking truth to the world but 
a minute before was now blotted out 
forever. Stierman only looked darkly, 
fiercely determined as he waited for 
Kent's answer. Sweat stood out on 
his forehead. 

"I am making myself responsible," 
said Kent, "for Germain and his 
wife." Kent had grown up with 
Germain and Lillian. In fact, both 
men had been in love with Lillian — 
still were. "If you're willing to work 
with me," he continued, "we'll do 
something about this, but it's got to 
be fast. It's obvious that Germain 
and Lillian — that's his wife — will be 
taken to Headquarters, which is 
underneath Berlin. 

"How will they get there, and how 
soon?" asked Brion. 

"They must intend ^o work swift- 
ly," replied Kent, "considering Agar- 
thi's show of strength today, both 
here and in Europe. So they no 



doubt have a high-powered strato- 
rocket somewhere with which they 
will transport their captives to Ber- 
lin. They might return to Berlin in 
such a conveyance in less than two 

"Can this ship do the same?" 
asked Stierman, grimly. 

"Yes, even better/' replied Kent. 
"But Berlin is the headquarters of 
the enemy. There are all the con- 
centrated forces of the Nameless 
Ones, backed up by ancient weapons 
such as our own. We could not go 
there in one of these ships without 
opening a full scale attack, and we 
can't do that unless Agarthi orders 
it. My idea, however, was for us 

"Just a moment, Mr. Kent!** 
They all turned around to see the 
captain of the ship standing in the 
companionway, behind whom stood 
a starry-eyed Dr. Grange whose face 
suddenly clouded as he looked at the 
President. The captain wore the 
black, shiny, short boots of the Agar- 
thian space navy, silver colored ac- 
tion trunks and a handsome, jeweled 
belt which supported a disintegrater 
gun. A gold colored shirt that looked 
like chain mail covered his broad 
chest, bearing an emblazoned Sword 
of Agarthi, in pure, glistening white. 
From his muscular shoulders hung a 
pure white cloak down to the top 
of his heels. He was a handsome, 
strong-faced man with blue-gray 
eyes, which were shadowed by the 
short visor of a special type of hel- 
met that contained compact electro- 
phonic and telepathic devices. 

"It will interest you to know," 

he said, "that the King has just com- 
municated with us over the electro- 

"The King! " exclaimed Kent 

"Does he know—" 

The captain nodded his head. "It 
is war," he said. "It had been planned 
for next week sometime, but in view 
of what has happened the zero hour 
has been advanced to now. We have 
fifty space ships operating in various 
parts of the world. They have all 
been ordered to make a rendezvous 
over Paris at once. From there we 
move on Berlin. The forces of the 
Agarthian army, which are now over 
fifty thousand strong and reasonably 
well equipped, are being called upon 
to march from their position under 
Frankfurt directly on the headquar- 
ters of the Nameless Ones. We hope 
that by this time the Golden Guards- 
men, led by Steven Rockner of 
Agarthi, have reached the ren- 
dezvous, because they are especially 
trained and equipped to be of great 
help to us. It is only regrettable that 
we haven't time to wait for our third 
ally, who was to arrive in a few days, 
as we need all the help we can get. 
The enemy is very strong." 

"What ally is that?" asked Kent. 

"The Moon People," replied the 

"Moon People! What in the devil 

"You must pardon me," said the 
captain. "I am needed on the bridge." 
He paused, as his first mate joined 
him, to say, "The other gentlemen 
present may join us if they wish, or 
disembark, but they must decide at 
once." He waited, looking at them. 

colossus n 


Stierman raised his slightly ori- 
ental eyes from the figure of the 
dead President to Lieutenant Colonel 
Brion and Sam Turner. He saw the 
answer in their set faces and in the 
steely glint in their eyes. 

"Thank yon," said Stierman. 
"Well stay." 

Kent would have grinned happily 
under other circumstances, but Ger- 
main's and Lillian's disappearance, 
the President's death, the sickening 
awareness of an overwhelming power 
of evil that had visited them, and 
now this declaration of a war to end 

all wars, was enough to make hira 
frown deeply with anxiety. But he 
was glad, nevertheless, that Stier- 
man, Turner, Brion and Grange were 
along. He felt attached to them, as 
though they all formed a good fight- 
ing group together. 

This is it, he told himself, to the 
final end . . . 

ino or colossus n 

(Coming next issue, Colossus III, 
She final story in S. J. Byrne's trilogy 
of a new world.) 





by Nelson Bond; Gnome Press, NY, '49; 
272 pages; $3. 

WE HAVE learned, via the Newspeak 
of Geo. Orwell's unspeakable world of 
"1984," that 2 + 2 may equal S, so it should 
not be difficult to accept Mr. Bond's dic- 
tum that there are 31 days in February. Ac- 
tually it is the dictum of no less an auctorial 
deity than James Branch Cabell, who once 
intended the title for a chapter in "The 
Witch Woman," a discarded manuscript, 
and graciously presented it to his admirer 
to title his present collection. 

"The 31st" is subtitled JJ FUgktt of 
Fantasy, and Nelson Bond is a high-flier 
indeed. In "The Sportsman" he writes 
something like Lord Dunsany spinning a 
Jorkens yarn; in "The Mask of Medusa" 
he is reminiscent of Bloch ; "The Enchanted 
Pencil" might have been written by Henry 
Kuttner. This is not to suggest in the least 
that Mr. Bond is a deliberate copyist. He 

even gives Bill Shakespeare a pun for his 
money when it comes to laying on words in 
a playful manner. 

One of the most interesting in Bond's 
baker's dozen is "The Cunning of the 
Beast," a sort of cybernetics-in-reverse story 
of flesh-and-blood beings being created by 
a robot to serve mechanical men ! If I am 
not mistaken, "Pilgrimage," which closes 
the volume, was originally titled "The 
Priestess Who Rebelled," and is in fact the 
first of the famous "Priestess" series. How 
about that, editor Rap — y«u introduced 
them, didn't you? ■ 

Bond is a conscientious craftsman who 
polishes up his pulp work before permitting 
it to be bound between hard covers, and 
the result is quite commendable. The book 
is good both physically and "spiritually,** 
topped off by a tasteful jacket. 


Martin Brand was executed as a 
traitor and kis coffin was enshrined 
in memory of a hero. Then a woman 
in love did a strange thing — she 
opened the coffin . . , and war flared 
across three worlds. 

^TT'S A crazy thing, Kathleen," 
i Hal Orson said in a savage 
whisper, "Worse still, it can 
only hurt you. He's dead . . . why 
open up old wounds? You'll break 
your heart . . 

Uluimtion by BUI Tttry 

"It's already broken," Kathleen 
Dennis said in a tight, strained voice. 
"It broke the day they took him 
away, condemned as a traitor, and I 
believed it . . . until you told me the 

Orson stopped in the darkness and 
grasped her arm. "Kathy, please 
don't do itl You don't know how 
much trouble you can get into if you 
are caught at this mad scheme. You 
couldn't possibly explain why you did 
it — " Orson pulled her around until 

Driven by the most powerful emotions of which 
a human being 1* capable, Martin Brand sought 
out the Martian fifth column in Luna -but when 
be destroyed It, he became a living dead man. 

she faced him in the gloom of the 
tomb's interior. "Just why are you 
doing it?" he insisted. "Why I For 
the life of me I can't understand . . ." 

"Why did you agree to come along 
in the first place?" she whispered 

He tried to see her face in the 
gloom, but it was only a pale oval, 
and for an instant he thought he saw 
something glistening, as though there 
were tears on her cheeks reflecting 
little glints of light from some unseen 

source. He lifted one hand and 
brushed his fingers across her velvet 
skin. They came away wet. He 
shook his head in irritation. 

"Because I was his best friend — 
or as good a friend as he'd let any- 
body be. And because . . ." He fum- 
bled for words, but the wetness on 
his fingers strangled them in his 
throat. To say more would only hurt 
her worse . . . 

"Because you felt there was a pos- 
sibility that I might be right," she 



finished for him. "That he might 
not be ... " 

"Kathy," he begged. "Don't say 
it. You'll break yourself up . . 

"Because I'm crying?" she asked, 
defiantly. "Hal, discovering that he 
really is dead can't hurt me half as 
much as the torture of not knowing. 
And as long as this doubt gnaws at 
me, I'll be a river of pain dammed 
forever from the sea. The dam will 
break if I don't relieve the pressure." 

"Then let me look!" he exclaimed. 
"There's no use in burning such a 
ghastly picture into your mind . . 

"Don't be afraid of that," she said. 
"For eleven years I've burned a pic- 
ture of him into my mind — ten years 
while I worshipped him from a dis- 
tance, and one since I told him I 
loved him. No other picture can re- 
place that one. I can take it, Hal, 
I'm no baby." 

"You're crying like one," he said, 
and regretted the words instantly. 
"I'm sorry, Kathy. I didn't mean 
that. I'm a fool . . ." His voice 
broke and he stopped speaking. 

She reached out and touched her 
cool fingers to his face. He stood 
still while they explored. He didn't 
flinch when she found the wetness. 

"Hal," she said. "You're good. 
Too good to get into trouble because 
of me. Go now, Hal — I'll finish the 
job alone." 

He hefted the crowbar in his left 
hand. "No!" he said roughly. "I'm 
going to take this tomb apart, stone 
for stone, and if he's in there, I'm 
going to take the Capitol Building 
apart right afterward I " He strode on 
through the gloom of the marble 

monument to seek the hero whose 
real heroism had never even been 
told, whose life had been forfeited by 
the cowardice of a nation's govern- 
ment. Kathleen followed behind him, 
clutching bis right hand with her left. 

They reached the rail around the 
sunken marble mausoleum and Orson 
halted. "Over you go," he whispered. 
"I'll let you down and you can drop 
the last foot or so. It's only eight 
feet . . ." He put down the crowbar, 
and it clanged loudly against the 

Kathleen clambered over* the rail. 
He grasped both her wrists and low- 
ered her gently, leaning over as far 
as he could. Then, with a whispered 
warning, he released his grip. He 
heard her soft sandals slap against 
the floor, and knew that she hadn't 
lost her balance. 

"Here I come," he said, picking 
up the crowbar. 

In an instant he stood beside her 
in the gloom and fumbled in his 
pocket for the black-light spectacles 
necessary to give them vision. She 
put on a pair, and as he donned his, 
she snapped on the black-light flash. 
Without the glasses, nothing would 
have been visible at all in the im- 
penetrable darkness. An eerie red- 
dish-glow seemed to fill the chamber. 
He turned to look at her. She stood 
stiffly, staring at the huge marble 
coffin in the center of the circular 
floor. Even in the weird light he 
could see that her face was starkly 

He clenched his fist so tightly that 
the nails bit into his palm, and turned 
almost savagely toward the coffin. 



She held the light while he placed the 
crowbar against the thin crack that 
marked the lid. The slab was tre- 
mendously heavy, but by fractional 
inches he forced the thin edge of the 
bar beneath it until enough of it was 
under Uie slab to give leverage. His 
first heave moved the slab not more 
than an inch. He tried it again, and 
once more he moved the slab a tiny 

"Can you do it?" Kathleen asked 

"It's a cinch you alone couldn't 
have," he grunted. 

"I'd have smashed it," she said 
simply, "if it took me all night. I 
don't think anyone outside could 
hear what went on in here. It's al- 
most soundproof." 

"I hope so," he said, inching the 
bar under the slab once more. "It 
looks as though we'll be making 
plenty of noise before I get this off." 

Ten sweating minutes later the 
slab had moved enough to show a 
thin black line of the interior of the 
outer coffin. Orson thrust the crow- 
bar into it with a mighty heave. The 
muscles in his shoulders bunched as 
he strained against the bar. Then the 
iid si id aside as though it were 
greased and fell with a thunderous 
crash to the floor. The echoes were 
deafening in the vaulted chamber, 
then silence came once more. 

They waited almost a full minute, 
listening for the sound of running 
footsteps, for an alarm; but no fur- 
ther sound came other than their 
hoarse breathing. 

Kathleen thrust the light over the 

edge of the sarcophagus. 

"The coffin I" she gasped. "It's 

"Of course," he said, almost sav- 
agely. "It would be. And it's going 
to be a devil of a job to open it. It's 
metal, and it'll be bolted shut. I 
only hope the wrenches I've brought 
will fit . . ." 

He tried them one by one, then 
grunted as he found one that worked. 
He began loosening the first bolt . . . 

An hour later he sank back, his 
hands bleeding. "There, that's the 
last one," he gasped, "but I'll have 
to rest a moment. I haven't got the 
strength left to lift that cover . . 

Kathleen laid the flash on the floor 
and leaned over the coffin. 

"Kathy ! " said Orson sharply. 
"Don't . . ." 

But with one superhuman heave, 
she lifted the metal cover. It crashed 
aside, ringing as though a thousand 
gongs had been clashed together. 
Orson clapped his hands over his 
ears, then took them off. He looked 
at Kathleen, who was peering into the 

Suddenly she screamed. Again and 
again she screamed, ear-piercing 
shrieks that penetrated his eardrums 
with more intensity than had the 
noise of the metal coffin lid. 

He leaped forward, grasped her in 
his arms and pulled her away from 
the coffin. 

"Kathy! Come awayj Don't look 
any more ..." 1 

Her screams stopped and she 
whirled on him, sobbing shrilly. 
"Hal! He's . . . he's not there. He's 



not there! Don't you understand? 
. . . He's alive/ He's not dead at all; 
he's alive 1 The coffin's empty!" 

"Oh God," said Hal Orson, fold- 
ing her trembling body in his arms. 
"Oh God!" 

As he stood there, holding the 
sobbing girl tightly, his mind went 
back to that memorable day when 
the "luck of Suicide Martin Brand" 
had become almost a legend with the 
Interplanetary Patrol. They had 
heard it all over his transmitter, 
which, in the heat of battle, he had 
forgotten to turn off. They had heard 
him screaming his defiance at his 
enemies while he plunged in for his 
suicidal attack against impossible 
odds, accompanied by the roar of 
Wagner's immortal Die Walkiire din- 
ning at them out of their loudspeak- 
ers from the music tape he habitual- 
ly carried into battle with him . . . 
* * * 

ff/^DME and get me, boys! — If 
\J you can!" 

Martin Brand clenched one space- 
browned fist around the fighter's 
throttle and threw the ship into a 
screaming, roaring bank that ended 
in a terrific dive straight down, par- 
allel with the breath-taking forty- 
thousand feet of cliff that was one 
side of the Liebnitz Mountains. 
With his other hand he pressed a 
switch on the control panel — a switch 
that had all the earmarks of having 
been crudely installed by one who 
was not a mechanic. 

There was a faint hum, then from 
a speaker mounted over his head 
came a burst of music. 

Brand grinned as the strains of 
Wagner's inspired music dinned in 
his ears. He turned up the volume 
still further, until the roar of the 
music drowned out the drone of his 

"Now come on, you lousy am- 
bushers!" he roared. 

Behind the ship against the rocky 
wall of the Liebnitz, a brilliant, 
soundless puff of light momentarily 
erased the inky moon-shadows at the 
mountain's foot. 

"Missed!" exclaimed Brand tri- 
umphantly. "And you had me 
boxed ! " 

Suddenly, across his sights flashed 
a hurtling dot. Brand tripped his 
guns. Once again the bright light 
puffed, this time as one of Brand's 
shells exploded— in the hull of the 
enemy ship. 

"That's HI " screamed Brand. 
"The luck of 'Suicide' Martin Brand! 
Back on Earth I'm a legend, but 
right here, I'm a damn fool — a fool 
even the devil won't kill." 

There was something bitter in 
Brand's tone as he shouted aloud 
over the crash of the magnificent 
Siegfried music which was filling the 
control room of the tiny fighter 
rocket. There was bitter recklessness 
in the thrust of his hand as he bore 
the throttle over hard and sent the 
flier zooming up again in a heart- 
bursting maneuver. 

The fire of the remaining three pi- 
rates — the thought of the word pirate 
brought an angry flash to Brand's 
eyes — converged on the Lunar floor 
over which he'd been, and then, sud- 
denly, they were below him and in 



line with his sights as he looped over 
at the top of his upward rush. 

Once again those brown fingers 
clenched, and this time a spray of 
shells vomited outward toward his 
enemies. Not just one lucky pot- 
shot, but a barrage with all six for- 

Brilliance blinded him as thirty- 
six - magnesium-atomics burst all 
around the diving ships trapped in 
his sights. When the light faded, 
he saw another ship dropping in a 
mass of fragments toward the deso- 
late surface below. The other two 
were streaking desperately across the 
sea bottom, crater-hopping like mad, 
to put distance between them and 
the demon fighter who had so reck- 
lessly and amazingly escaped the per- 
fect "box" ambush they had laid 
for him along the slopes of the Lieb- 

Without pausing, Brand lanced his 
ship after them. Gray lava swept 
under the belly of his flier with a 
blur of motion. With a grim, set grin 
on his lips, he centered the cross- 
hairs on the flames of the laggard's 
rockets. His fingers pressed delicate- 
ly. Six shells "ringed" the ship, 
blasting it into fragments that show- 
ered down even as Brand's flier tore 
through the expanding gas of the 

It was then that the surviving ship 
made its fatal mistake. At the range 
that now existed, the pirate might 
have escaped had its pilot continued 
in a straight line. Instead he shot 
his ship outward into space in an at- 
tempt to flee the satellite. 

Brand's pursuing ship flared across 

the heavens. He instantly computed 
the angle of intersection, then waited, 
squinting his eyes. The pirate ship 
sped up into range of his guns . . . 

Ten seconds later the fight was 
over. The wreck of the last pirate 
ship twisted madly as it hurtled down 
to a soundless crash on the airless 

Brand slacked speed, bore his ship 
around, and then brought it to a 
long, gliding landing near the wreck- 

And as he did so, a rocket flared 
beyond the wrecked ship. A tiny one- 
man escape rocket looped over a 
crater rim and streaked toward the 
horizon. Brand cursed. 

"Damn! He got out before she 

There was no chance of taking-off 
in time to catch the speedy little ship, 
so he switched on his communicator 
and roared into it. 

"Run! You rati And when you 
get home, tell your boss I'll get him 
sooner or later. The next time he 
tries to trap me, tell him to bring out 
his whole damn fleet!" 

There was a faint hum in the re- 
ceiver, and Brand snapped off his 
recorder, which was still blasting out 
the music of his favorite selection. 

A voice came faintly from the 
speaker. Brand turned up the volume 
to its peak. With a crackling of static, 
but still quite clearly, the vpice spoke. 

"You never could hang 6n to any- 
thing, Martin Brand," came the 
voice, dripping with mockery. "Not 
even a girl! And the next time we 
meet, you won't be so lucky. I'll 



bring you in and you can give the 
boss your own messages!" 

There was a sudden snap and the 
hum faded from the speaker. The 
man in the escape rocket had cut off 
his radio. 

But Martin Brand sat as though 
frozen, only the static of empty space 
breaking the silence inside his fighter. 
Only static; until his voice cracked 
out in a hoarse whisper that, had it 
become flesh and blood, would have 
been incarnate hate. 

"Jeffry KMianI" 

Again and again through Martin 
Brand's head echoed the words he 
had just heard. You could never hang 
on to anything, Martin Brand. Not 
even a girll And as they repeated 
themselves over and over, another 
voice whispered in his mind ... a 
voice as soft and musical as a sum- 
mer breeze in a forest; cool, alluring, 
sweet. It whispered in his mind and 
carried him back over ten long 
years . . . 

* * * 

"I love you, Martin. Oh so very 
much ..." 

Martin Brand crushed the slim 
girl's form to him as he kissed her 
yielding lips, passionately, tenderly, 

"We're going to be so happy, Es- 
telle," he said. "Just wait till you 
see the home I've built for you. It's 
the coziest thing on three planets . . ." 

"I can hardly wait," she said. "And 
111 treasure everything in it. You've 
worked and fought so long and so 
bard to get it . . ." 

"Just for you," he put in. 

"Just for me?" she questioned 
coyly. "You've only known me five 
months. Couldn't it just as well have 
been any other girl?" 

He clutched her to him. 

"Nol I've known you ever since 
I was old enough to know there could 
be anything like you on Earth. I've 
pictured you in my mind since al- 
most the first time I rocketed a ship 
into space, a raw kid in the Inter- 
planetary Patrol. I don't think there 
could have been a little home if you 
hadn't really existed." 

"You dear," she said softly. "You 
idealistic darling." 

He fished in his pocket, showed 
her the deed to their home to be, and 
for many moments they read it to- 

"I've got to go now," he said 
then. "But I'll see you tomorrow 
morning at the spaceport. Then well 
walk up to Commander Wilson and 
get tied up in glorious style. Great 
old man, Commander Wilson. Not 
a man in the universe I'd rather 
rocket with. He gave me official 
orders to let him do the officiating." 

"It'll be wonderful," she breathed. 

Again he kissed her, and left. 

"Commander wants to see you," 
said Brand's roommate when he 
reached his quarters. "Probably 
wants to make sure you've got the 

Brand grinned. He put his fingers 
into his watch pocket, removed a 
tiny box and flipped it at the rock- 

"From now on, Hal, it's your wor- 
ry. You're best man, you know. And 


if 1 haven't a ring when Commander 
Wilson calls for it, there'll be one 
member of the Orson family who'll 
rocket no more!" 

"Take more than a Brand to stop 
an Orson," the rocketeer tossed at 
Brand's back which was retreating 
through the doorway. 

Brand knocked at Commander 
Wilson's door and waited. A gruff 
voice answered and he went in. He 
closed the door behind him, saluted 

"Lieutenant Brand reporting as 
ordered, sir," he said. 

Commander Wilson's space- tanned 
face appeared rather red in the glow 
of the desk light before him. 

"Never mind the formality, son," 
he said. "Sit down. I've got some 
things Lo say to you." 

He fussed around at some papers 
on his desk for a moment, while 
Brand seated himself and waited. 

"Damned nuisance!" fumed the 
commander. "Just when T wanted a 
vacation . . ." 

Brand leaned forward, startled. 

"We haven't been ordered out?" 
he questioned anxiously. 

"Not immediately. But we leave 
in four days. You'll have a very 
short honeymoon, lad. Three days." 

Brand looked disappointed, then 
he stiffened. 

"We can arrange it, sir, If this 
thing's what I think it is, it's more 
important. We can continue the hon- 
eymoon later. After all, we'll have a 
long litre to be married." 

Wilson chuckled. 

"That's youth for you— think the 
honeymoon will never end. Well, I 


hope it doesn't, lad, because . . #* 
the commander sobered . . maybe 
the next ten years are going to be 
tough ones." 

"The Martians?" 

"Yes. The latest report comes from 
Luna. It seems a party of Martian 
scientists have obtained permission 
from the Lunarian government to 
conduct archeological explorations 
on the dark side. Archeology my 
foot I The dirty snakes are scouting 
the territory for military purposes." 

"You mean you think Senator 
Beasley is right? That Mars intends 
to invade Earth?" 

Commander Wilson grunted. 

"I'm a soldier," he said. "I can 
see a million reasons why Mars 
should want to invade us, and how 
they could do it. Those damned paci- 
fists keep prating about 41 million 
miles of space being a bulwark of 
natural defense. Bulwark, my hat! 
It's [list a matter of coasting. What 
they rc;ii]y need is a base oi opera- 
tions near us . . . and that base is the 

■'What are our orders?" asked 

"Unofficial," said Wilson. "Sen- 
ator Beasley and the President aren't 
asleep. We're to 'scout' beyond inter- 
planetary limits and keep our eyes 
open, but damn it, that isn't enough 1 
Sooner or later we're going to have 
to institute a secret-service unit 
ttin.;h will work entirely on its own 
nv — a body that can fi^ht it out 
frci'ance and be prepared to take 
the rap if caught . . ." 

' Count me in on that, Com- 
mander," said Brand swiftly. "I . . ." 



"Not a chance." Wilson shook his 
head. "That'll be for single men only. 
It's too much of a suicide job. For 
instance, if the Lunarians nabbed one 
of these operatives, he'd probably be 
liable to life imprisonment, or even 
shot as a spy, and our government 
would have to deny him altogether. 
In fact, he'd forfeit his citizenship 
when he went into the service." 

"You talk as though this service 
were already in existence." 

"Not yet But let's talk about 
that wedding tomorrow. Has she 
picked out a ring . . .?" 

A confused babble of voices drifted 
across the take-off platform of the 
Space Patrol landing field. Brilliantly 
uniformed rocketeers stood chatting 
with lovely girls, and behind them 
loomed the tremendous mass of the 
blasting pit's metal - and - concrete 
walls. The morning sun was shining 
brightly, and beneath an arbor of 
flowers stood Commander Wilson, 
waiting. Before him stood a double 
line of officers of the Space Patrol, 
wearing their dress swords. At the 
far end of the line stood Martin 
Brand and Hal Orson. 

Brand was fidgeting nervously, 
peering often toward the gates of the 
landing field, which yawned to the 
highway outside. It was here the 
limousine that would bring Estelle 
Carter and her bridesmaids was 
scheduled to appear. 

"This thing's twisted," said Orson. 
"Isn't it supposed to be the groom 
who traditionally keeps the bride 

Brand grinned faintly. 

"She's worth waiting for, Hal. But 
if she doesn't come soon, I'll need a 
fresh collar . . ." 

Ten minutes passed, and Com- 
mander Wilson moved back into the 
shade of the arbor. Orson's face took 
on a sober look, and every few min- 
utes he fumbled in his jacket pocket 
wherein reposed the ring for which he 
was responsible. 

The purr of an atomic motor came 
from the road beyond the fence, and 
Brand stood erect. The line of officers 
snapped to attention; white gloves ; 
went to sword hilts in readiness. 

A messenger's cycle swept in 1 
through the gate in a swirl of dust. , 
Its rider dismounted, propped up his 
machine and strode forward. [ 

"Lieutenant Martin Brand?" he ' 

Brand stepped forward. 

"Here." i 

Brand took the message the boy ] 
handed him, while Orson tossed the , 
lad a coin. ; 

"Something wrong, Martin?" asked , 
Orson while Brarid scanned the mes- 
sage he had removed from the en- 1 
velope. ' 

Brand's face went white as the i 
words bit into his brain . . . 

Congratulate us. Estelle and I will 
be married by the time you read I 
this. No hard feelings. The best man [ 
won. Jeffry Killian. \ 

He didn't hear Orson's repeated 
question. He stood there, a blood-red i 
haze before his eyes, a roar in his ' 
head. Slowly his fingers curled into . 
a white-knuckled fist, crushing the 
paper into a ball. Then they relaxed ! 
and the paper fell to the ground, j 



Unseeing, unhearing, oblivious of the 
tense silence that hung over the land- 
ing field, he strode through the gate 
toward his car. 

He didn't hear the curse that Hal 
Orson let loose as he picked up and 
read the message. Hal Orson was too 
enraged to notice the pink cheeks 
which he caused to appear on some 
of the girl attendants, and tensed 
jaws on the part of their escorts. The 
curse was echoed by Commander 
Wilson in modified form as he read 
the sheet from Orson's hand. 

"The skunk! The no-good, rotten 

As he strode through the gate, 
whispered words formed on Brand's 

"She ditched me!" he said. 
"Ditched me for a dare-devil space- 
racer. Eloped! And she only went 
out with him once . . ." 

His hand whipped inside his jack- 
et, tore out the deed to the little 
house. He ripped it into fragments 
and threw it to the winds. And then 
he laughed, harshly and loudly. 

There was a heavy silence in the 
room. Hal Orson fumbled aimlessly 
with the television set, as a variety 
of scenes faded in and out on the 

"We take-off at noon tomorrow," 
he said abstractly. "Be good to get 
into space again. I've got a belly- 
full of this inaction . . ." 

Brand sat on the bed, looking 
dazed. He remained silent. Orson 
looked at him, shook his head, 
frowned, then returned his attention 
to the televisor. More scenes flashed 

on. A newscaster's face appeared. His 
voice droned . . . 

Martian war spread to another 
front on the red world today, when 
the Syrl'is armies attacked tiny Mal- 
via without warning. Tank columns 
followed initial attack by rocket- 
bombers and smashed through Mal- 
vian defenses at three vital points . . . 

The announcer's voice went on arjd 
his features were replaced at times 
by maps illustrating the areas under 
discussion. Then he launched into 
an account of local news. 

Early this morning the wrecked 
racing-rocket of the famed inter- 
planetary-racer, Jcffry Killian, was 
found on the Maine coast, half sub- 
merged. A young woman, tentatively 
identified as Miss Estette Carter of 
New York, was taken from the crack- 
up in serious condition . . . 

Orson turned slowly to face Martin 
Brand, who was rising to his feet, a 
stricken expression on his face as he 
faced the televisor screen. On the 
screen now was a view of the wreck, 
a grimly shattered object washed by 
foamy seas as the wind roared in a 
gale from the Atlantic. The announc- 
er's voice continued: 

. . . and has been removed to the 
Community Hospital at Boston. The 
body of Jefjry Killian has not been 
located as yet, and it is believed that 
it may be lost in the sea, thrown 
clear of the wreckage. 

Hal Orson snapped off the televi- 
sion and tossed Brand his coat. 

"Come on Martin, we'd better get 
started. I'll rocket you up there in 
my speedster." 

Brand's face was pale, and his 


browned hand was trembling as he 
caught the coat. 

"Thanks, Hal," he said. "But don't 
spare the fireworks. I've got to get 
to her before . . . before . . ." 

"We will," promised Orson. "We'll 
be there in a half-hour." 

"She isn't badly injured physical- 
ly," said the doctor, "bruises and 
contusions, a broken arm, and head 
injuries. We had to operate on her 
head as soon as we got her here — 
pressure on the brain. Would have 
killed her in another two hours. Un- 
fortunately, a bone chip on the inside 
of the skull had penetrated a portion 
of the brain, causing damage to an 
extent which we can't predict at the 
moment. It may be . . ." 

"How's she now?" asked Brand 
tensely. "Can I see her?" 

The doctor shrugged. 

"Yes, you can see her, but it isn't 
exactly— well, pretty. You see, she's 
violently insane." 

Brand went white. 

"You mean . . .?" 

"Perhaps. There's not much hope 
that she'll regain her sanity. There's 
been some sort of mental shock also. 
Perhaps the sight of her . . . com- 
panion drowning while she was pow- 
erless to help him," 

"I want to see her," said Brand, 

The doctor led the way down the 
corridor to a small room. Brand 
entered first. He halted as he saw 
the figure on the bed. 

"She's strapped down!" he ex- 

On the bed lay Estelle Carter, her 


legs and arms strapped to the bed, a 
leather strap across her breast. Her 
head was heavily bandaged and one 
arm was in a cast. Her eyes were 
open, and they stared directly into 
Brand's with an intense glare that 
stopped his lips with shock. 

"Look at the tin soldier boy!" she 
jeered. "I hate you! I hate yout 
I hate everybody! You've got stars 
in your eyes . . 

In startling change she recoiled, 
fearful, eyes dilated. 

"Stars!" she shrieked. "They're in 
your eyes, and they're getting bigger. 
The whole sky is full of them. Run- 
ning races, that's what they are. Rac- 
ers! And cowards too! They aren't 
really racing — they're running away 
. . . ooohhhh-hh!" 

Her voice ended in a high-treble 
scream, filled with utter terror com- 
bined with horrible hate. She tossed 
convulsively on the bed. 

"The fool! He thought I loved 
him. He got a deed to a nasty little 
shack . . . Get away from me. You've 
got racers in your eyes ! " 

Martin Brand recoiled. Then he 
moaned and a shudder shook his 
big shoulders. Abruptly he wheeled, 
ran from the room, colliding with 
Hal Orson whose face was white and 

Outside, sobs tore from Brand's 
throat, while Orson gripped his arm 
tightly and held it. 

Commander Wilson extended his 
hand and shook that of Martin 
Brand, soberly but with feeling. 

"Welcome to the Special Service," 
he said. "From now on you are a 



free agent. You will receive your in- 
structions from me only, and your 
area will be 24B-Luna. Your identity 
has been established as Robert 
Wales, political criminal. No one 
connects Robert Wales with Martin 
Brand, the ace of the Interplanetary 
Patrol. As Robert Wales you have 
no rights as a citizen, although none 
can deny that you are still an Earth- 
man. All of your actions will be those 
of a renegade. But your job is to 
smash the plot that is brewing on 
Luna. Mars must not be allowed to 
establish a fifth-column there, nor to 
invade. Until the 'powers that be' 
realize our danger, we must work in 
the dark. If you get into trouble, 
your government will deny you." 
Brand nodded. 

"I know. It's all right. I have 
nothing to lose." His voice was dull. 

Commander Wilson poured a 
brandy from his private stock, 

"Driuk this," he said. "And snap 
out of it, son. You've got a job to 
do. And you've done a noble thing 
by setting aside all of your savings 
as a fund for Estelle. She'll be taken 
care of. But don't let it make you 
bitter, lad. There are other wom- 
en . . ." 

"Not in this service!" snapped 
Brand. "Remember what you told me 
once before?" 

"Sur^j but . . " 

"That's the way it suits me," said 
Brand. "And as far as my job is 
concerned, the Martians will wish I'd 
never been born." 

"I'm sure they will," said Wilson, 
a troubled look in his eyes, "but don't 
be reckless. A dead agent is of no use 

to us, you know." 

A flinty grin crossed Brand's face. 

"I don't die easily, Commander," 
he said. "But neither will I live long 
enough to be a sucker again!" 
+ * * 

Martin Brand stared unseeingly 
across the wastes of the lunar plain 
which stretched back toward the tow- 
ering heights of the Liebnitz from 
which he had just come. Still ringing 
through his brain were those words 
he had spoken ten long years before. 
They had been the basis for the 
Martin Brand the solar system now 
knew as "Suicide" Martin Brand, the 
luckiest man alive — and the most 

Ten years ago, his life had been 
blasted into a terrible bitterness. 
Now, when he thought the wound 
healed by time, a voice had come out 
of the ether from a crater-hopping 
little escape ship, tearing it wide 
open once more. A voice that he 
hated, a voice he had thought he'd 
never hear again. 

"He isn't dead!" Brand's voice 
rang with hate and shock in the tiny 
confines of his little pursuit ship. 
"Jefjry Kfflian is still alive! He 
didn't drown when his ship cracked 
up . . ." 

The full significance of it jolted 
home in his mind. 

"The rat cracked her np, thought 
she was dead, and ran out^ on her 
like a coward. And she kniwf She 
was insane, but she still remembered 
he'd run out on her! And later — he 
must have known itl — bearing that 
she was insane, he never came back. 



Let her shift for herself . . ," 

Martin Brand's face writhed in an 

old hate, now reborn to full growth 

in a terrible manner. 

"I'll get you, Killian!" he swore. 

"I'll get you, if I have to tear the 

whole Moon apart!" 

Beneath the savage pressure of his 

fingers, the pursuit rocket roared up 

from the age-old dust of the lunar 

plain, shot over the wrecks of the 

ships he had shot down, and out into 

space toward Earth. 

Three days later, Martin Brand, 
pressed in the rough garb of a pros- 
pector, peered from the porthole of 
the limping freighter which was set- 
tling down past the high rim of the 
•rater that exactly centered the side 
*f the Moon eternally hidden from 
Earth. He watched with interest as 
darkness settled around the ship. The 
jloom became deeper as the ship sank 
into the bowels of this pock-marked 

As he watched, the admonishing 
words of Commander Wilson rang in 
his memory. It's a tough hunch 
you're playing, my boy. If it really 
was leffry Killian you saw, then 
something is going on inside Luna 
that's no good at all. No good at all! 
Whatever you encounter will be 
strictly your own funeral if it blows 
up in your face. Good luck, son. 
Somehow, soon, we've got to smash 
that Martian infiltration, or it's cur- 
tains for Earth, 

Yes, it would be strictly his funer- 
al — because now he wasn't Martin 
Brand. He was Robert Wales, and 
Robert Wales was an outlaw on 

Earth. He'd lost his citizenship be- 
cause of seditious acts. Oh, yes, the 
rest of the solar system would accept 
him without much question. His 
wasn't a universal criminal act. In 
fact, much of the solar system would 
secretly approve of an Earthman who 
was a seditionist . . . Mars especially, 
and perhaps Venus. On Luna he 
would use still another name (he'd 
selected Edgar Barnes) because Luna 
was anxious about Mars, and curried 
favor from Earth. And too, she was 
a bit irritated because Earth politi- 
cians stuck bull-headedly to their iso- 
lationist policy. Luna also resented 
being a "buffer" between Earth and 
Mars without getting credit for it. 

If Luna discovered that Edgar 
Barnes was Robert Wales she might 
deport him, certainly not to Earth, 
but very likely to Venus. So Martin 
Brand intended to play his dual role 
with all the cunning — and uncanny 
luck — that was his. 

The freighter was dropping now in- 
to an illuminated area. Light came 
from below, and suddenly with the 
shock that it always brings to per- 
sons making a first descent into the 
hollow world, the breath-taking spec- 
tacle of the cavern's immensity 
opened out beneath him. There was 
a city there. A modern Lunar city, 
built, precariously it seemed, on a 
terrific slope. How it could have 
remained there was an incredible 

Brand shifted his body, and the 
mystery was a mystery no longer; 
for he almost fell, with a new shift 
of balance from a new center of 
gravity. The precipitous slope on 


which the city stood became a flat 
plain, and the black hole of the crater 
through which the ship now emerged 
shifted from its former vertical ap- 
pearance to a low-slanting shaft that 
bore off at an angle. 

A moment later he adjusted him- 
self to the sudden change in direc- 
tion, found the new "down" and 
regained his equilibrium. And when 
he had accomplished it, the ship 
shuddered with the contact of its 
faulty landing in the rocket cradles 
at the city spaceport. 

As he walked down the gangplank, 
reeling slightly with the unaccus- 
tomed light gravity in spite of his 
leaded shoes, Brand wanted to laugh 
aloud. He stopped himself as he 
heard several others laughing bois- 
terously, then he saw them peering 
around with a foolish look on their 
faces. There had been nothing to 
laugh at. Brand grinned faintly at 
their discomfiture, realizing the cause 
of the unseemly mirth . . . oxygen. 
The atmosphere of this inner-lunar 
world was artificial and richer in pure 
oxygen than that of Earth. Its too- 
swift stimulation often caused this 
reaction when first breathed into 
lungs unaccustomed to it. 

Brand stopped grinning as he saw a 
girl standing just outside the gate 
of the spaceport looking at him with 
what he was certain was startled 
recognition. But she was a perfect 
stranger to him, and he frowned. Her 
face now, as she saw him looking at 
her, went cold and emotionless and 

Brand walked over toward her, 
seemed about to pass without further 

notice, then whirled upon her. 

"Do I know you?" he asked 

It seemed to him that she drew in 
her breath just a bit too sharply. 
"No," she said in a low voice, staring 
straight at him. "You don't." 

"Wrong reaction," he said flatly. 
"You're supposed to say: 'Can't you 
think up a more original approach 
than that — go fry your hide.' I know 
I don't know you. But I'd swear you 
know me." 

She continued to look at him lev- 

"What is your name?" she asked. 
"If you're well-known enough, I 
might have heard of you." 

"Edgar Barnes," he answered. 

"No," she said. "I don't know 

She turned and walked away. 

Brand watched her retreating back 
a moment, noting the lilting sway of 
her body, the grace of each step, the 
proud carriage of her head. He saw 
too the rich red-gold of her hair, and 
remembered that her eyes had been 
a startling deep blue. He had noticed 
also that her lips had been anything 
but forbidding, even tightly drawn 
as they had been in what he could 
not certainly identify as deception. 

Had she recognized him, or hadn't 
she? Was she concealing an initial 
betrayal of such recognition, or had 
she, like himself, been surprised at 
the laughter caused by the oxygen in 
the air? But he hadn't laughed; why 
look at him? 

He shrugged, turned and strode 

through the city streets. 

Ahead of him he saw a brilliantly 
lighted cafe. Its neon lights pro- 
claimed it as the "Star Club." Parked 
in front of it were sleek aero-cabs and 
several fast, low-slung compression 

Brand nodded to himself. 

"There's where I'll find some of 
the big boys. Perfect front for in- 

He turned in at the entrance and 
was halted by a doorman. 

"You can't go in dressed like that." 
Brand grinned. 

"Call the manager," he said, "un- 
less you'd rather take this ten-spot 
yourself. I've got a little to un- 
load . . ," 

The doorman snatched the bill 
Brand handed him, grinned back, and 
said, "Sure. The boss'H understand 
when I give him the sign. And 
thanks . . 

Brand followed a waiter to a small 
table to one side, seated himself and 
ordered a drink. Then he sat quietly, 
listening to the haunting strains of 
the Lunarian stringed orchestra 
which was wailing its odd cadences 
for the dancing of the couples sway- 
ing voluptuously on the dance floor. 

Lunarian dances were the ultimate 
in sensuous expression. Brand snort- 
ed, and downed his drink in a gulp 
when it came. The waiter lifted his 
eyebrows, and Brand ordered an- 
other, loudly. 

Several men nearby looked at him, 
studied him a moment. 

One of them got up and sauntered 
over. He was dressed in evening at- 


tire, and immaculately groomed, but 
there was a queer tightness of his suit 
around the chest, and Brand's eyes 
narrowed slightly as the fellow sat 
down opposite him. There was a 
shoulder holster under his arm, and 
a steam gun in it. There was no mis- 
taking that tell-tale tightness, for 

"Prospector?" queried his guest. 

"Of sorts." Brand shrugged. "Just 
landed. Thought I'd try my hand at 
the caves." 

"Bad business, those caves," said 
the stranger affably. "Takes a good 
man to browse around in 'em. Never 
prospected myself, but I've hunted 
lu-bats in those caves. Incidently, 
my name's Ormandy. Saw you down 
that drink, which is exactly how I 
feel at the moment. Mind if I join 
you in the next?" 

"Why should I? Maybe you can 
give me some dope on the caves — 
that's worth sharing a drink." 

The waiter arrived, and strangely 
enough he had the other man's drink 
on his tray. 

"They know me here," explained 
Ormandy. "When I sit down at a 
table, any table, they stick my drink 
in front of me." 

"Not a bad thing," grinned Brand, 
"saves time." 

He lifted his glass, then held it 
rigidly in his fingers for a moment. 
There, behind Ormandy, across the 
room, was the girl Brand had ac- 
costed at the spaceport. There was 
no mistaking the red sheen of that 
lovely hair. And once more she was 
staring at him. This time there was 
no recognition, just a studied at ten- 



tion that held him motionless with 
surprise for an instant. 

"What's up?" queried Ormandy. 
"See a lu-bat?" 

He turned to stare in the direction 
Brand was looking, and raised his 

"Say," he said in approval. "Don't 
blame you for looking. She's strictly 
inner-world I " 

Brand recovered himself hastily. 

"Yeah/' he agreed, tossing his 
drink over his shoulder into a potted- 
palm as the girl looked away. Or- 
mandy's head was still turned. Brand 
smacked his lips and put his glass 

Ormandy drank his, then leaned 
on the table. 

"You haven't introduced yourself," 
he said. "Not curious, but I ought to 
have a handle to hang on you. Any 
one'H do." 

Brand grinned. 

"Ed Barnes," he said. "Just an 
ordinary name, but it's done me this 
long, I guess you can use it too/' 

"Y'know," said Ormandy. "For a 
minute I thought you were somebody 
else, but I guess it's that deep coat 
of space-tan you've got. Either you've 
been prospecting the airless asteroids, 
or been rocketing around space for a 

"Both," said Brand. "In fact, this 
is the first air outside of a tank I've 
breathed in a long time, except on 
the freighter that brought me here. 
I shipped on from a space station 
out of New York, intended to go to 
Earth, but decided against it. I've 
always wanted to try the Luna 


Ormandy reached carelessly into 
his vest. When his hand came out, 
he palmed a small steam pistol. The 
tiny opening in the barrel was all 
that was visible to Brand as he stared 
at the hand. He didn't move a 

Across the room a nattily-dressed 
American space-lieutenant lifted his 
voice in a popular space song which 
the orchestra was playing at the mo- 
ment. His voice rang out clearly, but 
slightly tipsily in the quiet that seem- 
ed to have fallen over the room. 

"Let me tell you of a girl 
I met among the stars. 

Her eyes are blue as Rigel, 
Her lips as red as Mars." 

"Ten years ago," said Ormandy 
softly, "I stood in line at a wedding 
ceremony, my sword at the ready. 
I was prepared to add my weapon to 
the arch through which a young 
couple were to walk in a few mo- 
ments. But the wedding never came 
off. It seems that the man who was 
to form half of that team was being 
jilted . . ." 

Brand's face tightened just a trifle 
and he looked hard at the man across 
the table from him, but said nothing. 
Instead, queerly, the song's second 
verse registered in his ears, and he 
listened to it as he studied Ormandy's 

'''Nowhere in all the system 
You'll find a girl like she; 

And you can bet your ray gun 
That she's the one for me!" 



Ormandy's voice went on: 
"That man was just a lieutenant 
ir. the space-patrol then. I was also 
one, but I had other interests. They 
had something to do with a situation 
that was only beginning then. I didn't 
know at the time that the man who 
w,'i.s being jilted would be so bitter 
<T : kj«t it that he'd become a thorn 
in my .side later on. Of course the 
interests which I planned were then 
in their infancy. Today they are quite 
well advanced . . ." 

"Her hair is like the ghostweed 
That drifts on Venus' sea. 

From top to toe a figure 
As perfect as can be." 

"It would be a shame to let any 
possible harm come to them now. So 
that is why you are looking into the 
muzzle of a very efficient little steam- 
gun right now, Mr. Martin Brand. 
'Suicide' Martin Brand, I believe is 
the popular designation, which, at 
the moment, is quite appropriate in- 

"Perhaps," agreed Brand. "I've 
gotten to depend on my luck so much 
that I often stick my head into the 
lion's mouth like this. Someday it's 
going to make me careless." 

"Like now?" questioned Ormandy 

"Maybe. But how'd you spot me?" 
Ormandy frowned. 
"Recognized you, of course," he 

"That's a lie," said Brand. "In 
the first place you've never seen me 
before, and in the second place you 
never were at any wedding. Every 

one of the boys in that line, with or 
without swords, were my friends. All 
except the one who ran off with my 
girl, cracked up with her, and ran 
off like a rat, leaving her to a life of 
insanity. And thirdly, I don't look 
like Martin Brand at all. I'm a mess 
of plastic." 

Ormandy looked at him a moment, 
then he laughed contemptuously. 

"You're smart, Brand and a liar. 
But so what? Right now you're go- 
ing to walk out of here with me, 
climb into the black aero-cab directly 
in front, and sit tight. The driver 
knows me quite well. In fact, you 
might say he's a friend. He'll never 
remember having taken a fare any- 
where tonight, especially a prospec- 
tor named Ed Barnes, whom no- 
body'H ever see again. Not when his 
body drops into Black Hole." 

"Black Hole?" 

"That's the crater that goes no- 
where that anybody's ever been able 
to discover — and came back alive." 

"Oh, I see." 

Brand's eyes strayed a split second 
over Ormandy's shoulder, and saw 
with surprise that the girl was gone. 
Her drink stood on the table at which 
she'd been seated. It was untouched. 

"Get up," ordered Ormandy. "The 
drinks are on me. Just walk out." 

Brand got up. He nodded casually 
to the doorman as he walked past. 
Ormandy was a few paces behind. 
Outside, Brand waited. 

"That cab," indicated Ormandy. 

Brand glanced around carefully. 
In a doorway to one side of the 
brilliantly lit marquee of the Star 
Club he saw a glint of red. There was 



a slight hiss, a tiny white lance of 
light came from the doorway, and 
ended in the temple of his captor. 
Ormandy sighed, slid gently to the 
walk, and dropped the steam-gun 
from his nerveless palm. 

Brand stooped, scooped it up, 
whipped open the door of the aero- 
cab, and trained the weapon on the 
startled driver. 

"Start going places/' he snapped. 

He leaped in, turned to see the 
figure of the mysterious girl in the 
doorway. He saw her return a steam- 
gun to her bodice, then disappear 
into the Star Club's side door once 
more. On the walk before the cafe 
the body of Ormandy lay like an 
ink-blot. For the instant no one was 
in sight, then the doorman came run- 
ning out, and several pedestrians be- 
gan to converge on the corpse. Then 
the scene vanished from view as the 
aero-cab lifted, shot into the dark- 
ness over the city. 

* * * 

The girl sitting in the easy chair 
in the solarium was staring blankly 
at the landscape that spread out be- 
fore her beyond the wide-flung win- 
dows admitting the morning sun and 

Behind her an ornate radio played 
softly, rendering the symphonic tone 
poem, Rakastava, of Sibelius. Its 
notes were muted, low, distant. They 
were soothing, restful. And the girl 
who sat so still seemed lost in them. 
Her eyes were fixed on nothing, her 
body relaxed. Yet, beneath the calm 
exterior there was a strange tension 

that betrayed itself in tiny, tense 
wrinkles around her eyes, on the 
bridge of her nose, and especially in 
the nervous twitching of the fingers 
of one hand. 

Moving softly, furtively around 
the room, an aproned girl dusted 
furniture with almost fearful indus- 
triousness. Often she glanced quick- 
ly at the quiet figure in the easy 
chair, then snatched her attention 
away again to return to her work. 

Someone appeared in the doorway. 
The maid glanced up. 

"Good morning," said the new- 
comer, drawing a brilliant robe 
around her figure, waiting expectant- 
ly for an answer. None came from 
the girl in the chair, but the maid 
rushed forward on tiptoe, one startled 
finger to her lips in an unmistakable 

"Quiet!" she hissed. "Do you want 
to make her violent again?" 

"Oh, shush, Olga," said the visitor, 
pushing back a lock of graying hair 
from her more than middle-aged face, 
"She isn't going to be violent. She's 
no more crazy than I am — or . . 
she fixed a stern glance on Olga's 
fear-ridden face, ". . . or you," Olga 
reddened, and returned flustered to 
her silent pursuit of dust that didn't 
exist. Under her breath she mumbled. 

"Crazy? Miss Pennyfeather, you're 

If Miss Pennyfeather heard, she 
gave no indication. Instead she 
walked over to the girt in the easy 
chair and sat down on the window 
ledge directly before her, craning her 
neck to bring her gaze directly into 
line with the girl's blank stare. For 



a long moment she peered. 

"Good morning, Estelle," she said. 

There was no answer. Miss Penny- 
feather looked irritated. She inched 
herself more directly in line with 
Estelle Carter's gaze, rising to a 
half-sitting position that gave her the 
appearance of a poised scarecrow. 

There was no evidence that Estelle 
saw her visitor. Miss Pennyfeather 
became more irritated. She reached 
out a hand to still the fingers of the 
girl's hand, then sat back again, and 
a judicious look crossed her face. 

"It's that music," she decided. 
"It's too spiritless. We must have 
something with fire, something to 
wake us." She got up, walked over 
to the radio and snapped a switch. 

"This is betterl The Ride of the 
Valkyries, from Die WalHire, by 
Richard Wagner!" She read the title 
with gusto. "This will brighten us 


She inserted the record, snapped a 
new switch. Then she turned up the 
volume slightly and returned to her 
seat on the window ledge. She tossed 
a defiant stare at Olga, who had been 
standing disapprovingly in one posi- 
tion while Miss Pennyfeather launch- 
ed her campaign for "brightening 
things up." 

"Go about your work, Olga," she 
said sharply. "That radio is simply 
filthy with dust." She rubbed her 
fingers on her skirt with distaste. 

Olga frowned and returned to the 
chair on which she had been work- 
ing, but she cast an exploratory 
glance at the radio and squinted. 

The strains of the Wagnerian 
music began swelling through the 

room, building up to crashing chords. 
Miss Pennyfeather sat patiently 
waiting for her "brightening up" 
efforts to take effect on her victim. 

"Those stars keep racing around," 
said Estelle abstractedly. "And I 
hate racers." 

Miss Pennyfeather lifted her eye- 

"Stars?" she asked. "Where do you 
see stars racing?" 

Estelle's eyes focused on her vis- 
itor's face, as if she were seeing her 
for the first time. 

"I don't see them," she said. "He's 
a star. A star racer. He's won so many 
medals. But he always runs away. 
He's a coward, and I hate him." 

"Don't you love anybody?" asked 
Miss Pennyfeather. 

"No. Men are such fools." 

"Hasn't anybody ever loved you?" 

Estelle laughed. 

"Certainly . . . but I didn't love 
him. He wanted to buy a little house 
and tie me down in it. He was so 
old-fashioned. He knew how to kiss, 
and that's all I wanted . . ." 

The girl's gaiety vanished sudden- 
ly, and she leaned forward in her 
chair. An anxious look came over her 

"I hear his voice!" she exclaimed. 

Miss Pennyfeather frowned. 

"The only men here are Doctor 
Allen and Doctor Deakin," she said, 
"and you couldn't hear any voices 
outside anyway. The music is getting 
too loud." 

Estelle relaxed again, and her 
fingers resumed the twitching motion. 

Behind them Olga neared the 



radio. She peered at it closely. 

"Filthy with dust!" she whispered. 
She began polishing it with her cloth, 
an ecstatic look in her eyes. Her 
fingers accidently touched the volume 
control, turning it over to full 
strength . . . 

With startling suddenness the 
music roared out deafeningly. The 
climactic chords of the tremendous 
selection shook the walls. 

Estelle Carter leaped from her 
chair. Her shrill scream rocketed 
through the air, even above the blast- 
ing radio. Her face was a mask of 
shock and surprise and terror. She 
ran back and forth, as though seek- 
ing an escape, her hands clasped 
over her ears, and she screamed again 
and again. 

"Martin! Martin!" 

Miss Penny feat her lookod as 
though she'd been struck by light- 
ning, Olga crumpled to the floor next 
to the radio, crying in hysteria. 

Estelle shrieked once more, then 
fell to the floor in a faint. 

Miss Pcnnyfeather leaped into ac- 
tion. With terror in her face, she 
rushed through the doorway, collid- 
ing with the form of Doctor Deakin. 
She recovered, and rushed on down 
the hall, passed Doctor Allen with 
averted eyes, and turned into her 

"Turn off that radio!" shouted 
Doctor Allen, reaching the solarium. 
"Good God, there's no telling what 
this shock will do to Miss Carter!" 

The blasting thunder of the music 
was cut off abruptly, and only the 
sobs of the maid filled the room. 

"Get Olga out of here, Deakin," 

directed Doctor Allen. "I'll take care 
of Miss Carter. I'm afraid this might 
be serious. It's enough to kill her, 
or cure her . . ." 

Several days later the two men 
faced each other in their office. 

"What's the verdict, Allen?" 

Doctor Allen leaned back in his 

"Cured! Completely cured! That 
shock absolutely counteracted the one 
which deranged her mind in the ac- 
cident. She's as sane as you or I, 
and she knows it. She has a fine 
mind, or she couldn't have taken the 
revelations of the past few days with- 
out suffering a breakdown. It's quite 
a shock to realize that you've been 
insane for ten years." 

"You're going to release her?" 

"Certainly. Fortunately she has 
quite a sum still in her fund, that is 
being turned over to her. I have no 
doubt but what she'll find a place 
for herself without difficulty. She's 
a clever girl — even brilliant. I've 
been amazed at the extent of her 
knowledge and her intelligence rat- 

"You don't fear a relapse?" 

Allen shook his head. 

"No," he said slowly, "I don't. 
There's something pretty solid in her 
mind. Perhaps the combination of 
those two shocks has accomplished 
something that might not otherwise 
have been possible. She's as cold and 
analytical as a mathematics machine. 
If anything, she's too sane. Her emo- 
tions are under a powerful mental 
control. What she really needs is the 
outside world. I might even hope 



that ihe'd fall in love, although the 
way ihe'» constituted now, I'd hard- 
ly think that was possible. Anyway, 
she's leaving us today." 

"Where's she going?" 

"Says she has hopes of a business 
contact with a fellow named Jeffry 

"Jeffry Xillianl Why that's the 
man she cracked up with. He's dead 
— drowned in the wreck I" 

"Eh I" exclaimed Doctor Allen, 
startled. "Eh!" 

He settled back in his chair, a 
puzzled look on his face, then, after 
a moment, it cleared: 

"That's too bad," he said, "but 
maybe it has its compensations. Af- 
ter ail, sorrow is akin to love — it's 
an emotion. And that's what she 
needs. Once emotion returns to her, 
she'll be a pretty fine woman. I 
think I'll just let her go, and find 
out about Killian for herself. She can 
certainly take the shock, and it might 
soften her nervous system up a bit." 

"It might . . ." said bis companion 
dubiously. "Perhaps it might . . ." 
* * * 

Martin Brand poked the steam- 
gun into the aero-car driver's back 
with a vicious jab. 

"Was the guy back there your 


"No. I'm just a taxi driver." 

"You lie! I know all about this 
set-up, and I'm here to break it. I 
intend to break itl" 

The driver turned half around. 

"What set-up?" he asked. "I ain't 
in no set-up . . ." 

"Keep on driving, and face front," 

ordered Brand grimly, "and make 
for the Black Hole. We've got a 
little date there." 

He saw the red neck of the driver 
go pale. 

"What you going to do?" he qua- 

"Kill you," said Brand laconically. 

He saw the driver's knuckles go 
white on the steering wheel, but the 
face remained rigidly toward the 
front. The aero-cab drove on through 
the darkness beyond the city, through 
the artificial atmosphere of the great 
cavern. Pockmarked everywhere were 
great black areas that betokened un- 
inhabited areas, and bright spots that 
indicated cities. To one side, the side 
facing the sun, several bright spots 
indicated craters that extended 
straight through the crust, similar to 
the giant one which provided the 
main access to the moon's interior 
down which Brand had come in the 

Dimly, across the black void above 
them, paths of light indicated the 
sun's beams. In the windless interior, 
no dust floated, and dust motes did 
not break up the beams and make 
them the brilliant shafts they are in 
Earth caves. 

Only opposite the crater through 
which the beams entered did the sun's 
rays add any appreciable light to 
this Stygian inner-world. There, bril- 
liant white spots outglowed the arti- 
ficial light of cities, but were easily 
confused with the cities. 

Brand knew had they been further 
out from the surface he could have 
seen the huge Black Hole that was 
their destination. It might be on the 


near up-curving hutRoii in almost 
any direction, and Brand felt with 
certainty that the driver of the aero- 
cab was not going toward it. He'd 
seen him cautiously, with extreme 
slowness, so as not to make it notice- 
able, change his course several times. 
And Brand knew this was just a 
means of determining if he, Brand, 
knew where the Black Hole was. 

With an inner smile playing about 
his lips Brand waited, eyes and ears 
open, on the alert. 

The driver indicated a black area 
just ahead. 

"There is the beginning of the 
Black Hole crater," he said. "What 
do you intend to do with me now?" 

"Go directly over it," Brand said, 
"and then drop down into it slowly." 

The man complied, and the little 
vessel dropped slowly down in a di- 
rect vertical. 

Brand seemed to be intently watch- 
ing the crater walls, shrouded in 
blackness, but in reality, his atten- 
tion was fixed on the driver. He saw 
the slow tensing of the tiny muscles 
in the fingers of his right hand as 
they drew near to a certain out- 
cropping of rock that formed a 
rather wide ledge. Here was a dim 
glow, and Brand saw that even a 
space ship could land on the ledge 
with room to spare. But their aero- 
car was several hundred yards out 
from it, and descending very slowly. 

Suddenly, Brand acted. He leaped 
forward, raised the steam - gun, 
brought it down on the driver's head 
just as the man's right hand shot out 
toward a button on the dash. The 


driver uttered a little moan, slumped 
over the wheel. The aero-car began a 
whistling dive down into the crater 

Brand wrestled the inert body 
away from the control seat and took 
over. In a moment he had halted the 
downward dive, bore the ship off in 
a slanting zoom away from the dan- 
ger of crashing the walls, then hung 
for a moment, getting his bearings, 

Above him was the landing ledge 
he had seen before. Certain that he 
hadn't lost the clue it had given him, 
Brand began to drop the ship slowly 
again. Into pitch darkness they 
went. Brand kept one ear cocked to 
the stertorous breathing of the driver, 
who was still unconscious. Any 
change in it would indicate returning 

Abruptly the aero-cat bumped 
solid rock. Brand turned off the 
motors. A quick flash of the lights, 
on dim, showed that he had reached 
the floor of this particular pit. It was 
certainly not the Black Hole, In all, 
it was perhaps three miles deep, and 
small in diameter at the base. He 
placed a small package in the man's 
pocket, searched him for weapons, 
found none, and after a moment of 
thought left a small flashlight. It 
was a weak, two-celled affair, and its 
beam would penetrate the gloom only 
a few feet. He dragged the uncon- 
scious man from the cab-* 

Then Brand stepped bac*k into the 
aero-cab and started up the shaft of 
the crater toward the ledge above. 

He drove the ship silently down 
toward the far end of the great ledge, 



landed in pitch darkness close to the 
crater wall, under a slight overhang 
of rock. There he turned off the 
motors and left the ship. 

Slowly, he made his way through 
the inky blackness on foot, carefully 
feeling his way along the rocky wall, 
extending an exploratory foot for- 
ward before taking each step. He 
proceeded in this manner for nearly 
an hour. 

The dim light on the ledge grew 
stronger, and suddenly Brand discov- 
ered the reason for it. Here and 
there, in patches on the rock wall, a 
dully - luminous paint had been 
splashed. His hunch had been right. 
The driver of the aero-cab had been 
intent on Sashing on all the lights 
of his cab thereby attracting atten- 
tion, and being rescued from his 
plight. He had firmly believed that 
Brand intended to kill him, and had 
tried to save his life — and in so doing 
had betrayed the hiding place of the 
men Brand was seeking. 

Here in this pit, somewhere along 
this ledge, there must be an opening 
big enough to admit space ships. An 
opening big enough to be used as a 
base for the fifth-column activities 
Brand sought to uncover and destroy. 

Perhaps now, at last, he would 
come to grips with the master crim- 
inal, the Martian genius who was 
building up the secret springboard 
for an all-out offensive against Earth. 
The offensive that Earth authorities 
and Earth people alike scoffed at, 
because they denied the possibility 
of an invasion across 41,000,000 to 
I.?4 t 000,000 miles of space. 

He went on, now able to see dimly 

in the phosphorescent glow of the 
luminous-paint splotches. He no 
longer had to feel his way, held his 
steam-gun in readiness prepared for 
any surprise. 

Here, he felt sure, judging from the 
covert actions of the aero-cab driver, 
he could expect to find sentries. At 
least he knew he'd find someone to 
whom a bright light would have 
meant apprehensive action. 

Alert, he went on, his soles grind- 
ing softly in the sandy pumice of the 
ledge-floor. Before him he saw a 
black area in the cliff wall. It was a 
cavern opening, and on both sides of 
it were groups of heavy boulders. 
Behind them several men could have 
hidden very easily. 

Brand dropped down and crawled 
along on his belly, taking advantage 
of every possible concealment. There 
was no noise, but to Brand the scuff 
of his own body in the sand sounded 
almost thunderous. 

It was with surprise that he 
slopped his progress and became rig- 
idly immobile at the sight of a dark 
figure seated with his back against a 
rock. The man was smoking a cigar- 
ette, and the tip of it glowed red as he 
dragged on it. His face was illum- 
inated, and Brand's pulse leaped. 

A Martian! 

He'd found the opening. There 
was no doubt that this was the hid- 
ing place of a part of the fifth-column 
Mars was establishing on Euna. Thin 
man was a guard. Across his knees 
was a long atom-rifle, one that could 
easily shoot down an aero-car at a 
distance of several miles. Brand 
knew the weapon, a deadly invention 




of I\arih. which had been stolen by 
spies and duplicated in Martian fac- 
tories. It had been b-.d to potent 
j'dv^.!V;:i.,';e in tJie Martian invasion of 
Callislo. It had telescopic sights that 
were so perfect, and had so great a 
range that even the astronomer:; 
man •!< «] at them. 

The Martian seemed certain that 
his duty was an unnecessary one. 
That an intruder would find this 
ledge or attempt to land on it was 
preposterous to him. Brand glanced 
out into the void of the interior of 
Luna, and saw that any ship without 
lights would be perfectly invisible 
against the black curtain. That is, 
unless it chanced to cross a spot of 
light that betokened a city on the 
other side, or blundered into one of 
the shafts of sunlight that lanced al- 
most invisibly across the cavern. It 
was obvious that the guard had not 
seen the aero-cab descend. Nor could 
he see a light from the crater bottom, 
because it would be necessary for him 
to go directly to the ledge termina- 
tion and peer over. 

Slowly Brand crept forward, his 
gun in hand. The guard smoked his 
cigarette down, flicked it away into 
the darkness, then he climbed slowly 
to his feet. His seven feet of height 
towered over Brand, who froze mo- 
tionless again. The guard relaxed the 
bold on his rifle, stretched his great 
shoulders and yawned. 

Brand rose slowly to his feet and 
ad ..-'.need. A pebble crunched beneath 
his feet. 

The guard whirled, his gun came 
up with amazing swiftness, the muz- 

..'e pointing directly at Brand's body. 
.Startled by the dexterity of the fel- 
low's movements, Brand had time to 
do no more than press the trigger of 
his steam-gun. A white lance leaped 
out, striking the Martian in the ab- 
domen. The Ivfartian doubled over in 
agony, but retained his footing, 
bringing his gun once more into line. 

Brand shot again, swiftly, surely, 
and the steam lance ended its trail 
of death directly between the guard's 
eyes. Like an empty sack of brittle 
burlap which refused to flatten out, 
the Martian's fragile body collapsed. 
He lay motionless on the pumice, 
dark blood oozing from the wound 
in his head. 

"He wasn't so off-guard at that," 
muttered Brand. "And it wasn't so 
good for him. It cost him his life. 
If I could have sneaked by . . ." 

But then he laughed. 

"What am I feeling sorry for? 
These fellows intend to murder mil- 
lions on Earth, if we give trmni the 

He stepped over to the body, 
searched it. He found nothing but a 
pack of cigarettes, which he pocketed, 
some matches, a second steam-gun in 
a holster, and a belt of ammunition. 
He picked up the atom-gun, hefted 
its long length, then retraced his 
steps toward his ship some hundred 
yards, and cached his loot along the 
base of the cliff-wall. 

He returned and lifting the Mar- 
tian's body, he carried it to the edge 
of the ledge and hurled it over. 

Then, all traces of his activities 
having been removed, he made his 
way into the black opening of the 



cave. As he rounded a bend, a source 
of illumination became visible, and he 
saw that ahead there was a broad- 
ening of the tunnel, . plus several 
branching tunnels that led off at an- 
gles. Obviously, this was a complex 
system of caves and tunnels —an ide- 
al hiding place for Martian agents 
and Lunarian fifth-columnists, 

Brand crept forward, following the 
illumination, his nerves tense with 
caution. He progressed several hun- 
dred yards before the illumination be- 
came bright enough for him to follow 
without feeling for his footing. He 
could now see the rock underfoot, and 
he realized that this was no artificial 
illumination, but a natural glow that 
emanated from the rock itself. 

So far he had seen no signs of the 
human occupancy that he sought, and 
his brows furrowed in puzzlement. 
Why bury themselves so deeply? Ob- 
viously, farther ahead, there was a 
huge cave, lighted with phosphores- 
cence, but peering at the tunnel floor, 
Brand could see no traces of any 
passage through the sand and scat- 
tered pumice. In fact, his own foot- 
prints showed clearly and distinctly. 

Brand halted. Something was 
wrong about this. If the enemy used 
this tunnel as a hideout, they either 
carefully obliterated their trail, or 
entered by another route. Perhaps 
the right way through was one of 
those diverging tunnels behind him? 
. . . But they had not been illum- 
inated. The light had drawn him 

Brand went ahead more slowly, 
came into the main cavern, a large 

place, perhaps several miles in diam- 
eter. One glance was enough to tell 
him it was entirely empty. There was 
no possible place in this huge lava- 
bubble where anything as large as a 
rat could have hidden. 

'Wrong trail!" exclaimed Brand in 
annoyance. His voice echoed and 
re-echoed from the walls of the cave 
with startling "repetition. Brand 
clenched his lips shut in tight alarm, 
as those sounds might echo for miles 
through these tunnels. 

When silence descended again, 
Brand took a last look. He saw a 
tiny black opening in the wall sev- 
eral hundred feet away, and walked 
toward it cautiously. It led into pitch 

Was this the way? Was he on the 
right trail at that? 

He stepped inside, walked on into 
gloom that grew blacker, until with 
a turning of the passage it became 
complete. Once more he was forced 
to feel his way along. After a time, 
the sound of his footsteps ceased 
abruptly to echo back to him, and 
became almost soundless. He halted. 
He had emerged into a space more 
vast than any he had yet been in. 
That was obvious. About him was the 
atmosphere, the feeling, of sheer im- 
mensity, of empty distance. 

There were no tunnel walls to 
guide him, be realized that another 
step might plunge him into a bottom- 
less pit. Very obviously this was not 
the hiding place of the people he was 
seeking. Better retrace his steps . . . 

A rustle out of the darkness 
brought him around in sudden alert, 
his gun ready. Looming over him. 



swooping down with incredible speed, 
was a shadowy monster, giant- 
winged, reptile-bodied. It glowed 
with a pale violet radiance all its 
own, giving the appearance of a 
ghostly and very huge bat'. Brand 
recognized it instantly, although this 
was his first sight of such a creature. 
This was the dreaded lu-bat of Luna's 
caves attacking him! 

Desperately, he raised his steam- 
gun, trained it on the body, depressed 
the trigger and held it there. The 
white lance leaped out, played over 
the luminous violet of the body, but 
apparently nothing was happening. 
The monster didn't veer in its down- 
ward course. Brand could hear the 
whistle of wind as it planed down 
at him now. He kept the steam-gun 
pouring out its lance. 

Suddenly, with devastating effect, 
the white lance took effect. With a 
tremendous roar, and a blinding 
flash of light, the lu-bat exploded. 
Brilliantly flaring fragments of it 
scattered and fell like meteors, or 
star-shells on a battle-front, into a 
tremendous crater. 

Brand saw that he was within 
yards of the edge of this vast depres- 
sion in the moon's inner surface. He 
also saw that there was apparently no 
other side, even in the brilliant white 
light that came from the flaming 
fragments of the lu-bat. Undoubt- 
edly his steam-gun's intensely hot ray 
had caused a chemical combustion in 
the gaseous interior of the lu-bat, 
releasing the radioactive elements of 
its make-up in flaming pyrotechnics. 

But the other things that Brand 
saw in the brilliant light made the 

immensity of the depths before him 
inconsequential. He realized that he 
stood now on the rim of the famed 
Black Hole of Luna, the crater that 
had no bottom and had never been 
safely explored. Floating there under 
a ledge, concealed from above, but 
starkly revealed in the brilliant white 
light that was dying now as the lu-bat 
disappeared miles below still falling, 
was a giant space battleship! Be- 
hind it was another— and behind that 
a third. Brand could see no more, 
because darkness became complete. 
But registered on his dazed retina 
was the unmistable identity of these 
super- warships. They were Martian ! 

Now a brilliant light bathed Brand 
in its rays and a voice behind him 

"Up with the hands, Mister! And 
drop that gun." 

Brand turned slowly, dropped his 
steam-gun to the pumice at his feet. 
He tried to see beyond the bright 
flashlight trained on him, but 

"That's the first time I've ever seen 
a lu-bat knocked down with a steam- 
gun," said the voice. "Usually it 
takes a heavy atom-rifle to get 'em. 
Never been tried with a steam-gun 
before, as far as I know. It would 
be too silly to try, or would have 
been up to now. It seems, handled 
right, they do a pretty fancy job." 

Brand was silent, waiting for his 
captor to make a move. 

"Who are you?" asked the man be- 
hind the flashlight. 

"Robert Wales," said Brand. 

"What are you doing here?" 



"Isn't that a rather silly question 
to ask? " Brand put in. "Judging 
from what I saw anchored out there 
. . ." he waved a hand in the direction 
of the Martian battleships he'd seen 
huddled against the crater wall ". . . I 
have a faint hunch my business here 
is of the same nature as yours." 

"Judging from what you saw an- 
chored out there," said his captor, 
"you haven't any business of, my 
nature that you're going to be doing." 

The man with the flashlight moved 
around behind Brand, and in the 
light, Brand saw a pathway leading 
toward an opening other than the one 
by which he had reached the Black 

"Walk that way, ahead of me," 
directed the voice behind the flash- 
light. "We'll have a little business 
discussion with some people I 
know . . ." 

Brand began moving. They moved 
for several hundred yards, then came 
to a door built into the tunnel. A 
guard peered forth, then the door 

"What you got there, Joe?" asked 
the guard, eyeing Brand. 

"A guy I found out in the Black 
Hole, snooping around. He just shot 
down a lu-bat with a steam-gun. 
You should have seen the fireworks. 
Most amazing damn thing I ever saw. 
Lit up the whole crater . . 

"Lit it up?" 

"Yeah, for miles." 

"Then , . ." 

"Sure. I'm taking him to Jeff. 
He's seen too much, and besides, he 
ain't a lu-bat hunter. No lu-bat 
hunter ever went after those babies 

with a steam-gun." 

"I'll say," grunted the guard. "But 
then, nobody ever shot one down 
with a steam-gun either, until now!" 
There was frank admiration in the 
soldier's face. 

Brand's captor ordered him ahead, 
and they advanced into a warm, 
lighted scries of caverns. Down sev- 
eral branches, Brand saw many men, 
most of them in the uniform of the 
space-navy of Mars. His lips tight- 
ened at the sight. 

"Commander Wilson," he mutter- 
ed under his breath, "this isn't any 
sabotage, any fifth-column . . . it's a 
full-scale invasion, practically ready 
to go!" 

"What's that you said?" asked the 
guard sharply. 

"I said this's a pretty fancy set- 

"Yea, fancier than you think . . . 
turn right, in that next room." 

Brand obeyed the sudden order, 
entered a small room where two more 
guards stood, rifles in hand, rigid at 
attention. There was a distinct mil- 
itary pose to their bearing — but they 
were Earthmen. 

Brand's captor saluted. 

"Sewell, reporting to Commander 
Killian with a captive," he said. 

Brand whirled on the man. 

"Killian!" he exclaimed. "Com- 
mander Killian! " 

"Of course. He's in charge here. 
About-face, and march in. You'll be 
glad to see him, no doubt, if he's an 
old friend of yours — and in the same 
business! " The fellow who called 
himself Sewell grinned mockingly. 



One of the guards opened the door, 
and Brand stepped through, his jaw 
tense, his teeth biting together so 
hard his jaw hurt. In his mind one 
raging thought flamed. Jeffry Killian 
was the man he sought. Jeffry Killi- 
an was the mastermind, the arch 
criminal, the power behind the 
treachery on Luna! 

He faced the man who sat behind 
an ornate desk, dressed in a plain 
khaki uniform without insignia of 
any kind. 

"Come to deliver your message to 
the boss?" queried Jeffry Killian 

"No!" said Brand savagely. "I've 
come to kill you! And the only thing 
that'll prevent me is for you to kill 
me first." 

Jeffry Killian rose to his feet. His 
face was cold now. 

"That can be arranged," he snap- 
ped. "I promise you that you will 
die, but first, I have a few things I 
want to talk over with you." 

"Talk away!" blazed Brand, reel- 
ing under the wave of hate that was 
washing over him now. "I've got 
some talking to do myself. Some 
things I've been saving up to say for 
ten years ..." He choked. "You 
scummy, cowardly, yellow rati" 

Killian stepped out from behind the 
desk, signaled covertly, and Brand 
found both his arms grasped by the 
two guards. Then Killian lashed out 
with a fist, flush to Brand's face. 

Brand reeled under the blow. An- 
other smashing punch sent him to his 
knees. He clambered back up again, 
eyes blazing, lips tight, but silent. 
At the look in his eyes, Killian 

stepped back, shrugged. 

"That'll teach you to keep your 
mouth shut," he said. 

He turned to Sewell. 

"What's your report?" 

"I found him on the edge of the 
Black Hole. He was attacked by a 
lu-bat. Shot it down with a steam- 


"Yes. Kept it trained on the body, 
and something must've happened in- 
side. It blew up and burned with the 
brightest light you ever saw. Lit up 
the whole crater for miles around. 
This gave him a good look at what 
we got hid out there. So I stepped 
in and stuck him up. He said his 
name was Robert Wales. Also said 
his business was the same as ours." 

Killian laughed grimly. 

"Sure it is. He's a spy, but for 
the other side. You can go now, 
Sewell. And good work. I'll see that 
you get a captaincy out of this." 

"Thank you, sir," said Sewell, and 
saluting, turned and went out. 

Killian eyed Brand a moment. 

"Just how'd you find me?" he 

Brand laughed. 

"By the stink!" 

Killian tensed, then smiled. 

"Pretty crude, Boy Scout," he 
sneered. "About the answer I'd ex- 
pect from a man of your intelligence. 
You never were good at anything that 
took any special ability outside of 
sheer luck. But you can bet your bot- 
tom dollar that your luck's run out 
now! You aren't going to get out of 
this with your skin. And besides, 



isn't that what you've always claimed 
you wanted? Bellyaching all over the 
solar system about pulling Death's 
tail? 'Suicide' Martin Brand! That's 
a laugh. And all because of a woman. 
How a guy with as little balance as 
that ever got old enough to vote, is 
beyond me." 

Killian sat down again. 

"By the way, whatever happened 
to Estelle?" 

Brand's face went white. 

"You know damn well what hap- 
pened to her! You cracked her up, 
showing off those insane racing stunts 
of yours. Then when you thought 
you'd killed her, you thought of me, 
and ran like a yellow cur. Later you 
must have found out she'd gone in- 
sane, so you never did come back. 
Big enough to take a girl, but not to 
stay when she needed you. That's 
where you showed your true colors. 
Daredevil racer, eh? You go so fast 
because you're afraid of your own 

"I'd never have done anything to 
you. If you were what Estelle want- 
ed, that would have satisfied me. 
I know now it was she who sent that 
telegram, not you. Even you couldn't 
have had the colossal ego to call 
yourself a man, much less the best 
one. But at that, I guess Estelle got 
the kind of a man she deserved . . ," 

Brand stopped, bit his lip. Even 
now the hurt of ten years ago bit 

Killian seemed curiously unmoved 
by this tirade. Instead a sneering 
smile played around his mouth. 

Brand frowned. There was some- 
thing here that he couldn't under- 


"What are you going to do with 
me?" he asked slowly. 

"Kill you, of course," said Killian. 
"But not right away. I've got a few 
things in mind . . 

"What about those ships out 
there?" Brand asked bluntly, waving 
a hand in the direction from which 
he'd come. 

Killian laughed. 

"A little hell, for Earth," he sneer- 
ed. "No harm in telling you. In fact, 
I think I'll enjoy telling you. And 
when I say a 'little' hell, I mean just 
that. What you saw is just a sample. 
We've spent ten years preparing and 
we're just about ready. Even the 
Lunarians don't suspect a single 
thing, outside of the usual song 
they've been singing to deaf-and- 
dumb Earth congressmen for years, 
about taking the rap as buffer state 
between Earth and Mars in case of 
an invasion. Invasion? This isn't 
going to be an invasion, it's going to 
be a picnic 1" 

Brand's face was pale. For the 
first time in ten years he called upon 
his luck in real earnest. For the first 
time in ten years he didn't want to 

"Just one chance . , he mur- 
mured. The almost inaudible plea 
was a prayer. 

"What?" asked Killian sharply. 
"What'd you say?" 
. Brand stared at him, his lips tight, 
and said nothing. 

Killian flushed. Then he rose to his 

"Take him out, boys," he said, 
"Lock him up in the cell, and I'll 



take care of him later." 

The two guardsmen marched 
Brand between them, out of the door 
and down the tunnel. They took 
several turns, during which Brand 
saw many more soldiers, both Earth- 
men and Martian. Here and there he 
saw a Lunarian, also in Martian uni- 
form. It turned his stomach. This 
was a hotbed of traitors, but the 
seriousness of it all was just begin- 
ning to strike home. 

The inside of the moon was the in- 
vasion base that Commander Wilson 
had feared it might become. It was 
not a possibility, but an actual, exist- 
ing, and extremely powerful base, 
ready for action. 

Luna wouldn't be invaded from 
space, which was constantly watched 
by the Luna space fleet and the 
Lunarian army, but from her own 
bowels — treacherously, swiftly, com- 
pletely. Luna wouldn't have a 
chance, and Earth would then be 
helpless. She couldn't defend all of 
her great area from attack which 
could be directed at any particular 
spot in a few hours' notice. 

"Just one chancel" prayed Brand. 
"I've got to get away!" His whisper 
was inaudible this time. 

In a few moments the guards halt- 
ed him before a barred door, opened 
it, thrust him inside. They locked it 
and one of them took up station 
outside, while the other returned. 

Brand found himself in a rather 
large cave, which led back into dark- 
ness for quite some distance, and he 
explored it thoroughly. There was 
an end to it, but no other exit. His 

prison was indeed an effective one. 

He sat down and his thoughts 
raced, but the more he thought, the 
more hopeless things became. Jeffry 
Killian held all the cards, and 
through him, Mars held a winning 
hand. There was no telling when the 
blow would fall, but it seemed certain 
that it vvoud be soon. 

"Got to nial<e a break for it," he 
muttered. "As soon as they take me 
out of here . . , even suicide is better 
than letting this happen!" 

His face became grim. He realized 
that at last the luck of 'Suicide' 
Martin Brand had become just that 
. . . luck. Only this time it was the 
other kind. 

Outside the prison door came the 
sound of a short, sharp scuffle, a 
heavy thudding blow, and the sound 
of a falling body. 

Brand leaped to his feet, listening 

The key grated in the lock, and the 
door swung open. A shadowy figure 
entered, came toward him. 

"Martin?" came the low call, me- 
lodious, haunting, familiar. 

Brand froze, his blood congealed 
in his veins. 

"Martin?" came the voice again. 
"Are you here? Please answer me, 

Brand stumbled forward, his voice 
a hoarse croak of amazement, of won- 
der, of stunned surprise. 

"Estelle!" he gasped. "Oh, my 
God, EsteHe! It isn't ..." 

Now her soft hands were in his, 
and soft lips pressed swiftly, hurried- 
ly, anxiously against his own. 

"It is!" she whispered. "I've come 



back to you. Thank God, Martin, 
that I found you in time. I've been 
eating my heart out, wanting to tell 
you what a fool I've been, and how 
horribly sorry . . ," 

"Estelle!" he choked out, reeling 
beneath the shock of it all. "You . . . 
you're all right? You aren't . . ,?" 

"No," she said softly. "I'm not 
. . . insane any more." 

Her hands tugged at him. 

"Come quickly," she begged. 
"We've got to get out of here, be- 
fore Jeffry finds out . , ." 

He allowed himself to be led out 
of the prison, past the unconscious 
body of the guard. 

"Jeffry?" he mumbled, "Does he 
know . . . but how ... I don't under- 
stand . . ." 

"Never mind all that now!" plead- 
ed Estellc Carter. "I'll explain later. 
Right now we've got to get away. 
Got to! Come . . . this way. I know 
a way out." 

Her warm hand in Martin Brand's 
sent a strange shock to all his nerve 
centers. He was dazed, groping about 
in his mind for an explanation to this 
miracle that had come to him out of 
the dark. 

"Estelle," he whispered, still un- 
believing. "I don't understand . . ." 

"Never mind," she said tensely. 
"You've got to get away. Jeffry will 
certainly kill you." 

They came to a dark opening in the 
basalt wall. She slipped into it and 
Brand followed. They groped through 
inky darkness for nearly a half-hour, 
then a hollow booming echoed out of 
the distance from behind them. 

"The alarm." gasped Estelle. 

"They've discovered your escape! 
Oh, quickly! We've got to get out 
of this tunnel ..." 

She switched on a small flashlight 
and in its light, began a stumbling 
run down the uneven floor. Behind 
them, the dull booming of the alarm 
like a huge drum, or a bell that has 
cracked, throbbed incessantly. Added 
to it were faint shouts, hollow and 
eerie because of the enclosed spaces. 

Suddenly, the tunnel opened on a 
narrow ledge, and beyond the light of 
the flash, Brand could see the abrupt 
blackness and the awful gulf that 
indicated the Black Hole. Out there, 
hanging in the darkness were those 
three — or more — giant Martian bat- 
tleships, waiting to surge up and out 
into space in destructive attack on 

Estelle flicked off the flashlight's 
beam and left them in total darkness 
once mote. Out here the booming 
of the alarm shrank to almost sound- 
less proportions, swallowed in the 
vastness of the emptiness around 

"Where are we going?" Brand 

"There are several small cruisers 
from the battleships anchored along 
the ledge, further down. If you can 
reach one of them, you can escape. 
They'll never find you in the crater." 

Brand stopped dead in his tracks. 
He reached out in the darkness and 
clutched Estelle's arm, drawing her 
closer to him. 

"What's all this emphasis on me?" 
he demanded. "If I do any escaping, 
you're going along." 



He felt, rather than saw, her head 

"No, Martin, please. I must stay. 
Nobody will know it was I who 
helped you escape . . 

Brand gasped. 

"They know you're here?" 

"Yes," she said lowly. "I realize 
it's hard to understand, but it's too 
long a story to tell you now. I came 
here, looking for Jeffry. I remem- 
bered, even after ten years . . ." she 
hesitated and he felt her shudder 
". . . ten years in that mad house, 
where to contact certain persons, and 
I got word to him. Then, I came . . .** 

He stiffened and his voice grew 

"You came back to him!" he ex- 
claimed roughly. 

She stepped close, abruptly, and 
her warm body pressed against his 
and her arms went around his neck. 
Her breath was hot and sweet in his 

"No!" she said fiercely. "Flease, 
nol Don't believe that. But he left 
me to die, ran away like a coward. 
He'll pay for that I That's why I 
came to him. He thinks I love him, 
but he'll know very soon that I 

Estelle's lips met Brand's and 
pressed fiercely, passionately. Al- 
most without conscious volition, he 
responded, clutching her in his arms 
tightly, then he pushed her away. 

"My God!" he said hoarsely. 
"What's happened to you? You can't 
do that! You come with me. We'll 
get him another way. When I get 
back to Commander Wilson with 
the news I've got to tell him, there'll 

be action, pronto. We'll bottle up this 
invasion fieet, and smash 'em . . ." 

She stood straight before him. 

"No," she said firmly. "I'm not 
going with you. You can believe what 
you want about me. I know I treated 
you shamefully, and I know I de- 
served to lose your love. But whether 
or not I ever win it back again, I 
am going to pay off Jeffry Killian 
for what he did to me. You, nor any- 
one else is going to stop me. Another 
few minutes, and they'll realize we 
aren't in the caves, and they'll come 
out here. If they find us . . ." 

She whirled and he heard her mak- 
ing her way along the rocky wall. 
Dazed by the cold fury and deliberate 
intent in her voice, Brand followed, 
hugging the rough basalt to avoid 
pitching into the Black Hole's depths. 

Something inside him felt like a 
lump of ice. It was almost a sense 
of fear — fear of this woman he had 
once loved, who had come to him 
now with such intense bitterness that 
he was appalled. Surging through 
him, also, was a hot emotion that he 
fought helplessly to thrust down. It 
made him speak to her now . . 

"Estelle . . ." he choked. 

She stopped. His arms closed 
around her convulsively . . . 

"Estelle," he said hoarsely. "Is it 
really you? Are you all right?" 

For an instant she was still in his 
arms, then she spoke. 

"Don't be a fool," she said coldly. 
"After what I did to you, are you 
going to let my appeal sway your 
reason? If, after this is all over, I 
can prove to you by other means that 
I deserve you, maybe ..." her voice 



softened an instant, then hardened 
again. "How can you be so stupid as 
to think I might not betray you once 
more? Perhaps I have other motives, 
not good for you at all, in helping 
you to escape. Perhaps I intend only 
to do harm to Jeffry Killian by re- 
leasing you, simply because it would- 
n't be a good thing for him for you 
to get away, I tell you, I hate him, 
and I intend to pay him off!" 

He gasped, but he had no answer 
to this amazing series of statements. 
Slowly he withdrew his arms from 
around her. 

"Maybe you're right," he said with 
a curious inflection in bis tone. What 
she had just said somehow went 
against his grain. It made him feel 
like a puppet, a helpless bystander, 
and placed her before him as a force 
that would sway him as it willed. 
Suddenly, he rebelled. 

"Yes," he said. "Maybe you are 
right. Since the job I'm doing here 
is bigger than either of us, and cer- 
tainly bigger than your personal ven- 
geance, I'm going to take you at your 
word. Besides, I think my score 
against Killian is bigger than yours, 
and I say he's minel I swore I'd 
get him, and I will. Show me those 

Brand fought down the almost 
overpowering desire to believe what 
he wanted to believe about this amaz- 
ingly warm and human, yet terri- 
fyingly chilling woman before him. 
But they were there, those emotions, 
and they brought back that curious 
exaltation that he always felt when 
going into battle. Only this time it 

wasn't the bitter exaltation of the 
past ten years paced by the madden- 
ing thunder of Wagner's music. The 
thunder was in his blood, in a sudden 
uncontrollable beating of his heart. 
All at once he grinned in the dark . . . 

Up from the immensity beside 
them shot a bright spark, leaving a 
trail of lesser sparks behind it that 
died as they drifted. Abruptly a 
brilliant light burst forth, and a 
glare filled the whole crater, lighting 
the walls about them with eye-blind- 
ing brilliance. 

"Run ! " Estelle burst out. "They've 
shot up a flare from the battleship!" 

From the tunnel behind them came 
shouts, but as Brand turned, no one 
was in sight. They ran. Plainly re- 
vealed before them, anchored to 
wooden decks fastened to the sheer 
crater wall, were several small 

They reached them as a group of 
men burst from the tunnel. Estelle 
was ahead, and out of their sight. 
But they saw Brand, and a barrage 
of white lances leaped out at him 
from their steam guns. The range 
was too far, and they fell short. 

Brand's boots rang on the planks 
of the dock, and he ran toward Es- 
telle. He reached out for her. 

"Now," he panted. "You're getting 
in with me and we're off . . 

She slipped out of his grasp. In 
her hand appeared a tiny steam gun. 

"No!" she said coldly. "Get in 
and go." 

He eyed her a second. 

"You won't shoot," he decided 
with a grin. He leaped forward . . . 

A lance of white leaped out, and the 



planks at his feet curled and crackled 
in flame and splinters. Amazed, he 
lurched to a halt, drew back. 

"Get in!" she screamed. "Before 
it's too late!" 

The shouts of the men from the 
tunnel were close now. Brand hesi- 
tated one single furious second, then 
plunged into one of the cruisers and 
slammed the cowl shut Out of the 
corner of his eye he saw her leap 
into another. 

But he had no time to be surprised 
at this new maneuver. He shot the 
cruiser into the emptiness beyond 
the dock. Lances from steam guns 
were piercing the darkness around the 
cruiser now, while above the flare 
faded and died. Behind him, the 
cruiser piloted by Estelle bore at him. 
Its bow gun flamed fire, and a blast 
of energy seared past him. 

"Damn!" he swore in shock and 
surprised anger. She was shooting at 

With wild rage in his heart, he 
slammed the throttle down to the 
floor, and whipped the tiny cruiser 
into the black depths beyond the 
great battleship and in an instant 
he was lost in pitch blackness that 
was broken only by the faint flash of 
steam guns far behind on the ledge. 
He had gotten away, clean! 

Burning anger seethed through 
him as he set the automatic black- 
light pilot in operation. That would 
prevent him from crashing against a 
crater wall, even though it was hun- 
dreds of miles to the other side. As 
the cruiser rushed on in the black- 
ness, his thoughts calmed. With curi- 

ous certainty, he realized that the 
blast from Estelle's bow guns had 
been deliberately close, yet far 
enough harmlessly to miss him. He 
realized that if Estelle had wished, 
she could have blasted him complete- 
ly. She had missed intentionally. 

And now, she was back there, prob- 
ably docking again, to report failure 
in stopping him. Then she'd carry 
out the cold words she had spoken to 
him, return to Jeffry Killian to carry 
her vengeance to the chilling conclu- 
sion that Martin Brand knew sud- 
denly she would. In spite of the 
memory of her loveliness, the recol- 
lection of the soft warmth and allure 
of her body, Brand shuddered. 

"My God," he whispered. "What's 
happened to her?" 

Brand turned off the motors of the 
cruiser and drifted silently along in 
the utter blackness of the Black Hole. 
Vainly his eyes tried to pierce the 
gloom, tried to see either a light 
indicating an exit to the surface, or 
a distant rock wall that might glow 
with phosphorescence and allow him 
to follow it to an opening back into 
Luna's interior. 

Right now he was somewhere in 
Luna's crust, which ranged from five 
hundred to a mere two hundred miles 
in thickness. A sense of dizziness 
swept over him momentarily as he 
discovered that he couldn't deter- 
mine which was up and which was 
down. In fact, he floated aimlessly 
in emptiness so complete that he had 
absolutely no sense of direction, if 
such a thing as direction had ever 



Suddenly he knew the reason for 
the legends and terror attached to 
being lost in the famed Black Hole — 
for he realized now that he was lost. 
Out in empty space, no matter how 
vast it seemed, there were always 
stars. — millions of them, all recogniz- 
able in their formations, so that di- 
rection was merely a matter of a star 
map. Here, in utter blackness, space 
lost its immensity, and became a 
black shell that pressed hard against 
one. Beyond it was nothing — not 
even in imagination. 

In spite of himself, an eerie sensa- 
tion of terror crept over Brand. His 
hands remained calm, and his 
thoughts crept deliberately over his 
problem, but the hair on his neck 
rose in unexplained terror. The Black 
Hole was demonstrating its most ter- 
rible feature— its ability to immerse 
those lost within its immensities in 
terrifying mind-chilling panic. 

"Steady, Martin," he told himself. 
"The wall of this thing is right be- 
hind you, back where the docks are." 

Even as his voice sounded muffled 
in the cockpit of the tiny cruiser, 
Brand knew that "behind" was just 
another word. He didn't know which 
direction had been behind. Now it 
was just the other way from ahead. 

He shot back the cowl of the 
cruiser, and breathed the heady at- 
mosphere of Luna's interior. It 
seemed curiously rare here, and he 
grinned suddenly. 

"That's it!" he exclaimed 

For a moment he drove the ship at 
high speed, having once more closed 
the cowl, then he shut off the motor, 
opened the cowl, and breathed deep- 

ly. The air was rarer than before! 

"Up!" he said exultantly. "Who's 

Carefully he noted the calibrations 
on the meters on the control board, 
then swung the ship around in a one 
hundred-eighty degree arc. Again he 
opened up the motor and blasted 
through the blackness. 

A half-hour later the motor-jets 
ceased firing. 

The enormity of the catastrophe 
that had happened dawned on him 
with a rush. The cruiser still hurtled 
along at high speed, but it would 
gradually slow down, then it would 
drift toward the nearest crater wali 
and land there. From then on it 
would be a matter of making his way 
on foot. 

On foot! In the Black Hole! 

He looked hopefully at the fuel 
indicator, pounded it with his fist, 
but the needle remained stationary — 
at the empty mark. 

"I hope they're as careless with 
those battleships!" he growled angri- 

He settled back in the seat, help- 
less to do anything but scowl at the 
dimly illuminated instrument panel. 
He took mental stock of his situation. 
He had no weapons on his person, but 
he did have a gun mounted in the 
bow, which was too heavy to detach 
and carry. 

He fumbled about the interior of 
the cruiser, but it was tiny, and ob- 
viously never intended for fighting 
purposes. There were no other 
weapons. Furthermore, there was no 
food, nor water. 



He had no flashlight, and to walk 
anywhere in this giant crater without 
a light would be a suicidal under- 

For several hours he drifted aim- 
lessly, fretting at the inaction. His 
speed, according to the indicator, had 
dropped to a mere eight miles per 
hour, He might drift endlessly at 
that rate, depending on his direction 
in relation to the walls of the Black 

As he debated on this possibility, 
he was hurled forward in his seat as 
the cruiser crashed into solid rock. 
Even at this slow speed, the shock 
was abrupt, although not enough to 
injure him. After the noise of the 
crash was gone, the silence enveloped 
him. The lights on the cruiser had 
gone out. The only indication of life 
was his own breathing, which boom- 
ed loudly in his own ears. 

Brand leaned forward in the dark- 
ness, fumbled at the instrument 
panel. He swore vehemently several 
times, but finally he came up with a 
dashlight, which he'd wrested whole 
from the panel. With it came a hand- 
ful of wire torn from its bowels, and 
several batteries. 

It took fully fifteen minutes to 
connect them up, and the result was 
a dim glow that spread radiance only 
a few feet in each direction. It was 
enough of a glow for him to see that 
he had crashed on a barren rock sur- 
face. Judging from the weight of his 
body, which was about twenty-five 
moon pounds, he was at the moment 
perched precariously on the steep 
perpendicular wall of the Black Hole. 
In relation to the moon itself, he was 

actually standing at right angles to 
the perpendicular. Gravity was a pe- 
culiar thing on this hollow world! 

Then he climbed out of the cruiser 
and walked to its bow. He considered 
it a moment then began walking 
slowly forward in the direction the 
bow indicated he had been traveling 
when the cruiser had struck. That 
way would be "down" toward the 
interior of the moon. To walk was a 
difficult task as due to the light 
gravity, he often found himself twist- 
ing helplessly in the air. 

Behind him, in the darkness, 
Brand heard a faint rustling, a swish 
of moving air, and he turned awk- 
wardly. There was a rushing sound, 
growing in the dark like the nearing 
approach of some huge body, and 
the skin crawled on his scalp. The 
dim light he carried only served to 
accentuate the darkness beyond its 
range, and he could see nothing. 

In desperation he tore the wires 
loose from their connections, and the 
light went out. As he did so, the 
cause of the rushing wind became ob- 
vious. Swooping down, almost upon 
him, was the dreaded, faintly-glowing 
body of a Iu-bat! 

Before he could dodge its attack, a 
curiously light but strong body crash- 
ed into him, and cruel talons dug into 
his flesh. A pair of powerful tentacles 
wrapped themselves around him, and 
with a dizzying rush he felt himself 
carried aloft at terrific speed. 

For a moment, th'e pain of the 
talons clutching him and the shock 
of the attack had dazed him, but 
when he recovered his senses, he re- 



alized that he was being carried to 
some unknown destination at express- 
train pace. He had no doubt as to 
what this destination was— the nest 
of the lu-bat! The purpose — food 
for young lu-bats! 

He became aware that he still 
clutched the wires from his make- 
shift light in his hand, but the light 
itself and the batteries were gone. 
He was about to drop the wire also, 
when a thought struck him. He had 
a grim look of determination as he 
squirmed around and peered up at 
the scrawny neck of the lu-bat which 
was bobbing up and down as it flew 
through the increasingly heavy lunar- 
ian atmosphere. 

"You'll never get me to that nest!" 
he vowed softly. "Because where I 
go, corpse or not, you'll go tool" 

With a painful effort, he slung the 
loose end of the wire around the lu- 
bat's neck, and tied a secure, but 
loosely looped, knot in it. Then he 
removed the empty steam-gun holster 
from his belt, inserted it in the coil 
of ; the wire, and twisted it slowly un- 
til it began to tighten around the 
neck of the lu-bat like a tourniquet. 

Then, hands on the holster, he 
waited. If he killed the creature now 
it would mean dashing himself to 
death when they crashed to the sur- 
face. If he waited, he could apply 
the pressure, and it would be a battle 
to the death. If he won . . . 

His jaw tightened. 

"The luck of 'Suicide' Martin 
Brand will have to be better than it 
ever has before," he whispered softly 
to himself. 

The giddy swaying of the lu-bat's 
motion was beginning to make Brand 
very sick, and the pain of the crea- 
ture's talons was becoming intense. 
He could feel blood running down 
one side, as the cruel claws pierced 
his skin. He used one hand to tear 
at the tentacles holding him, and 
they tightened, but the talons loos- 
ened, releasing him altogether as 
the lu-bat became aware of his efforts 
and concentrated on wrapping him 
more tightly in the tentacles. 

Brand gasped for breath and de- 
sisted his efforts. If this was any 
indication, the lu-bat was going to 
have all the better of the strangling 
contest which would begin the mo- 
ment he tightened that tourniquet. 

Below his feet, Brand saw a faint 
glowing spot, and he peered intently. 
The rush of wind in his eyes pre- 
vented accurate observation, but 
suddenly he identified it. 

"A city!" he exclaimed. 

The tentacles around his body 
tightened convulsively. His explo- 
sive utterance had alarmed the lu- 
bat. Blackness washed over his vi- 
sion in a wave that was not the 
blackness of the Black Hole. 

When he could see again, the dim 
spot of light was gone. It was only 
when he relocated it off to the side a 
few minutes later that he realized 
the lu-bat had changed its course. 
All at once Brand noticed a differ- 
ence in the darkness. There was a 
sharp line where pitch black ended, 
and a slightly lesser degree of black 

The edge of the Black Hole! 

He was out of the "pit of lost 


men!" He was being carried by the 
bat through the atmosphere of inner 
Luna itself I 

Then he noticed that the black 
rim was sliding upward a bit. and 
coming nearer. The lu-bat wasn't 
emerging from the pit, but merely 
heading toward what was possibly 
its lair somewhere along the inner 
edge of that rim. As they drew near- 
er, Brand tightened his grip on the 
steam-gun holster, and readied him- 
self for a quick series of twists that 
would tighten the innocuous, but 
deadly strand of wire around the 
beast's throat. 

The lu-bat slackened speed and 
hovered an instant over a ledge. 
Brand saw the darker opening of a 
small cave that slid smoothly down- 
ward. This was undoubtedly the bat's 
lair, and perhaps an impossible place 
out of which to climb. In quick de- 
termination, Brand twisted frantical- 
ly on the tourniquet. It was now or 

The wire loop sank out of sight 
into the leathery neck of the lu-bat, 
and a fearsome squawk became a 
screaming gurgle. Instantly, Brand 
found himself the center of a cyclone 
of pain and swirling action. 

The tentacles tightened convul- 
sively around him, and he felt a 
rib crack with agonizing torture. His 
head seemed to be swelling and about 
to burst. The air rushed out of his 
lungs as though he were being 
smashed beneath a steam roller. The 
talons of the lu-bat sank into his 
shoulder and cut deeply. 

Almost in a faint, Brand continued 

to twist, then stopped, conscious 
despite the whirlwind of tossing and 
floundering around, that too much 
twisting might snap the wire and al- 
low the pressure to be released. . 

He hung on, managed to slip one 
end of the holster beneath the loop 
of the knot in the wire itself. This, 
he did so it wouldn't spin around and 
loosen the tourniquet when uncon- 
sciousness would cause him to lose 
his grip. 

He felt the huge beast smash into 
the ground . . . one leg went numb 
with the blow. One hand was torn 
from his grip on the holster, and 
ground against a rocky surface that 
shredded his skin. 

Tremendous shocks buffeted him 
as the lu-bat flopped around. Then 
he felt himself hurled fifty feet 
through the air, and despite the low 
gravity, he landed with a stunning, 
bone-breaking crash at the base of 
the wall that marked the inner edge 
of the ledge. He felt his body slip- 
ping slowly over the edge of the lu- 
bat's nest, and glimpsed below him 
the yawning mouths and the staring 
eyes of a dozen small lu-bats, who 
were lunging about in excitement and 
anticipation of the feast that awaited 

Frantically, with bis last con- 
scious effort. Brand clawed his fingers 
into the creviced rock and tried to 
drag his body back from its precar- 
ious position. The tremendous thrash- 
ing of the dying parent lu-bat raised 
a din in his ears that kept him from 
the brink of unconsciousness for the 
moment, but then he found himself 
going limp, and his fingers released 



their grip. He slipped down . . . 

A tremendous blow from the lu- 
bat's wing smashed into him, and 
the lu-bat flopped down past him 
into its lair. Brand was almost un- 
aware of the tremendous commotion 
that resulted below him as all went 
black and sound was blotted out by 
terrible silence. 

Martin Brand found himself lying 
in a bed and suddenly became aware 
of his surroundings in a very unsat- 
isfactory manner — to him. He dis- 
covered that it was distinctly no 
pleasure to awake and find every 
limb aching and his head feeling 
as though a dozen imps were pound- 
ing on his skull with red hot ham- 

But there was one thing that was 
certainly not painful. Instead, it was 
strangely soft, cool and caressing. It 
ran soothingly across his forehead in 
a gentle way that reminded him of a 
woman's fingers . . . woman's fingers? 

Looking down into his eyes were the 
cool blue ones of the mystery girl, the 
girl who had killed a man to save his 
life — for no reason at all. 

He closed his eyes. 

"No," he whispered to himself. 
"I'm lying in a hole with baby lu- 
bats picking my bones clean. I can't 
be in a bed, with her nursing me. 
It just isn't logical." 

"But it's true," came her calm 
voice, soft and melodious. "You are 
in bed. I am stroking your forehead, 
and the lu-bats aren't picking your 
bones . . . because I got to you before 
you fell to them." 

He opened his eyes again. 

''The luck of Suici . . ." he shut 
his lips tightly, suddenly. Then he 
went on, covering up his near slip. 
"The luck of Satan himself must be 
with me." 

"Yes, Martin Brand," she said, 
"your luck is still holding out. No 
need to look startled, or alarmed. 
I know who you are, and why you 
are here." 

Brand lifted himself on one elbow 
and groaned. "Damn!" he said feel- 
ingly. *Tm all busted up." 

He sank back again, and continued 
what he had been about to say: 

"You know an awful lot, too much, 
in fact. Just who are you, anyway." 

"My name," she said, "is Kathleen 
Dennis. My number is 28, and my 
sector is 24A, Luna. You have two 
broken ribs. We are in my ship some- 
where near the Liebnitz mountains 
and a small crater near the Black 
Hole. And you are going to stay right 
where you are until you are able to 
get back to work." 

He stared at her. 

"That's just dandy! And who says 

"Special Services." 

"Do you mean to tell me," he 
asked wonderingly, "that you, a 
woman, are in the Special Service 
working on the same problem I am?" 

She nodded. 

"Is that so unusual? Don't you 
think I can handle the job?" 

"So far," he said wryly. "I'm in 
no position to deny that. And I'm 
rather relieved to know you killed 
Ormandy because he had me on the 
spot. I had you ticketed for a lot 
different set-up . . he stopped, and 



his eyes narrowed slightly . . may- 
be it is a different set-up!" 

"You mean you don't believe my 

He looked at her steadily. 

"Personally, I'd like to, but actu- 
ally, I'd be a fool to. You may be 
one of the gang. Just the same, your 
orders don't go with me. I'm getting 
up right now, and doing a little send- 
ing over your radio." 

Brand tossed back the covers, 
grimacing with the pains his motions 
caused, and tired to get his feet 
(which he discovered were bare) out 
onto the floor. He was clad in brilli- 
ant blue pajamas, certainly not at all 
intended for the male sex. 

"You've certainly taken some lib- 
erties!" he said with some confusion, 
"or is the orderly out on an errand?" 

"There is no orderly," she said, 
"and you aren't getting up, nor are 
you sending anything over any 
radio." She put her hands gently on 
his shoulders and pressed him back 
on the pillows. 

"Oh, yes, I am!" he said angrily. 
"It's a matter of vital importance. 
And if you don't let me get up, I'll 
fix you, but good!" 

She crossed the tiny cabin, took his 
clothes from a locker, and walked to 
the door. 

"You can have these," she said, 
"after you feel better. As for your 
'vital' message, I've already taken 
care of that. I radioed the home 
base of the presence of armed en- 
emy ships in the Black Hole. He is 
sending in a patrol cruiser in a few 

"A patrol cruiser!" gasped Brand, 
sitting up in spite of the pain. "Good 
God, girl, that crater is full of battle- 
ships/ The minute a cruiser shows 
up, it'll be blasted wide open. It'll 
never come back out of the Black 

She looked at him curiously. 

"Do you really believe that?" she 
asked. "I told headquarters base 
you were babbling about battleships, 
but he was convinced you were de- 
lirious. Such ships could not possibly 
have gotten into Luna. They'd have 
to pass the fleet, and they could not 
have come down the entrance crater 
on Dark Side. There is no other 
crater through which they could 

"What about the one you just told 
me about?" he asked. "If you came 
out near the Liebnitz ranc;e from a 
crater that opens near the Black 
Hole, the answer is obvious." 

She smiled sweetly. 

"Too small," she said. "It's known 
only to the Special Service, and it's 
through that the patrol ship will go — 
with barely enough room. That's the 
main reason a patrol is being sent. 
The other is simply to check on your 
belief, however wrong, that there are 
armed forces in the Black Hole." 

She moved into the doorway. 

"Where are you going with my 
clothes?" he demanded, scrambling 
painfully half out of bed. 

"Somewhere where you won't be 
tempted to put thern. on and leave 
this ship," she said.* "And too, I 
have work to do. I have to guide 
the patrol to the crater entrance. 
They don't know where it is." 



She shut the door, and as he stared, 
he heard the lock turn. 
"Damn I" he said loudly. 

With a groan, he heaved himself 
erect, crossed to the door and rattled 
the knob. 

"You crazy little fool!" he shout- 
ed. "That patrol ship will never come 
outl Let me out of herel I'll radio 
Commander Wilson myself 1" 

There was no answer, and as he 
stood there, the ship lurched, and 
took off slowly. He reeled back to 
the bunk, sat down, and hung on 
until the ship leveled off. Then he 
got up again, crossed to the lockers 
and opened each one in turn. The first 
was bare; the other held a regulation 
space suit. He grunted, then with 
great effort, he climbed into it. When 
he had completed his job of make- 
shift clothing, he removed the small 
crowbar from the belt of the space 
suit. He crossed to the door and in- 
serted it between door and jamb. 
Then, sweating with the pain the 
effort caused, he pressed until the 
lock sprang open and the door swung 

He gripped the steam gun from the 
holster in the space suit and walked 
unsteadily down the tiny corridor 
toward the control room. Here he 
found the girl seated at the controls. 
She was looking out of the observa- 
tion window. There was another ship 
out there, a patrol cruiser. Brand 
recognized its sleek lines. 

He stood behind the girl, leveled 
his gun. 

"Okay, Kathleen," he said, his 
voice muffled in the space suit, "you 

can open up the radio key and send 
a little message to that patrol." 

She whirled around, faced him. 
She took one amazed glance at the 
space suit, then she smiled. 

"I forgot the suit," she confessed. 

"I'd have come in the pajamas," 
he said grimly, "or without, if nec- 
essary. That patrol has got to stop!" 

Her eyes narrowed. 


"Because it's suicidel" he said 
angrily. He opened the face plate 
on the suit. 

"Open that key," he demanded. 
"I'm in no mood to fool around." 

She turned and pressed the key. 
Then she spoke into the transmitter. 
"Twenty-eight calling Space Patrol 

The reply came instantly. 

"Space Patrol N-twenty-seven. 
Ready for message." 

Brand leaned over, grasped the 
microphone in his free hand. 

"Cancel that order to investigate," 
he said. "It's suicide. There are at 
least three heavy battle cruisers an- 
chored inside, and they'll blast you 
to atoms in two seconds." 

"What . . came a startled gasp 
from the patrol ship. "Battle cruisers 
. . . hey, wait a minute. I'll have to 
call Captain Craig." There was a 
moment's pause, then the voice of 
the operator came in again. 

"Who are you?" asked the puz- 
zled voice. "Is this the ship along- 

"Yes," said the girl. "I'm right 
here. At the moment I have a steam 
gun in my back. My patient has 



refused to believe I have orders from 

"I believe 'em," snapped Brand. 
"That's what's bothering me. I know 
what you fellows are going into, and 
I've got to stop it." 

A new voice cut in. 

"Captain Craig calling," the voice 
said. "What's the trouble, twenty- 

"Captain,*' said Brand urgently. 
"This is Martin Brand. I've discov- 
ered at least three of Mars' biggest 
battleships anchored in the Black 
Hole. If you go in there, you'll be 
blasted out of existence . . * 

"What did you say your name 
was?" asked Captain Craig's voice 
with a peculiar note to it. 

"Martin Brand," snapped Brand. 
"I am a Special Service operative, 
acting under Commander Wilson." 

"Commander Wilson, eh? Who- 
ever you are," said the radio, "land 
at once and prepare for boarding . . * 
The radio went dead. 

Brand stared down at Kathleen in 
surprise. Her hand was on the key. 

"What'd you do that for?" he 
asked. "And what does he mean 
'whoever I am'?" 

Her face was white, and there was 
something in her eyes akin to terror. 

"Martin," she said tensely. "Com- 
mander Wilson died four days ago 
of a heart attack! So, when Captain 
Craig questioned your identity, he 
had good reason. Another thing: 
Didn't you know that a public funer- 
al was held for you when you became 
Robert Wales in actuality a week 
ago? Commander Wilson deemed it 
the wisest course, because he knew 

things were about to break. So when 
you said Martin Brand , . ." 

Brand's senses whirled dizzily 
around him, 

"You mean . . .?" he gasped. 

"Yes. I lied to you when I said 
I radioed about the battleships. I did 
radio, but could only report suspi- 
cious activity in this locality. If this 
Special Service thing were to become 
known to the Senate . . ." 

"Then Craig intends to arrest 
me?" questioned Brand harshly. 

"Yes. And when he does, he'll ar- 
rest you as Robert Wales. You'll be 
exiled to Venus, perhaps, but that's 
better than being shot as a spy . . ." 

Kathleen's voice was trembling 

"I only wanted to save you from 
the terrible situation you are in , . ." 

A moment Brand stared at her 
curiously. Then he smiled. 

"I'm not in a jam," he said. "Com- 
mander Wilson foresaw that some- 
thing might happen to him, so he 
placed a complete record on file, to 
be opened in an emergency concern- 
ing Robert Wales, which will com- 
pletely exonerate me and reveal me 
as a Special Service agent. It will 
even prove that my original convic- 
tion, under the name of Robert 
Wales, was a put-up job to conceal 
my true mission, and give me access 
to the plots and counterplots of the 

Kathleen rose to her feet and faced 
him, her face even whiter than before. 
"No, Martin," she sa^d, "you are 
wrong. There are no such papers, A 
week ago the Bureau of Records of 



the Special Service was completely 
wrecked by an explosion, and every 
document was burned in the resulting 
fire. I am the only other living being 
who knows you are Martin Brand, 
and I couldn't prove it. I can't even 
prove you are Robert Wales . . ." 

For a long moment Brand stared 
at her in stunned surprise, Then, 
the tiny cruiser rocked as a shell ex- 
ploded across her bow. 

"We've got to land!" Kathleen 
cried. "They're shooting a warning 
over our bow!" 

Abruptly Brand pushed her aside, 
slid into the control seat, ignoring 
the agony in his chest. 

"Where's that crater opening?" he 
asked savagely. "Straight ahead?" 

"Yes," she said, "No! We're over 
U now!** Her eyes were fixed 
on the observation window. "But 
Martin, please don'tl They'll shoot 
us down . . ." 

Below them Martin Brand saw the 
small, dark opening of the crater. 
With a motion that hurled the girl in- 
to a corner in a heap, and pressed him 
savagely back into his seat with pain 
grinding in his chest, he sent the 
cruiser hurtling down into the black 
depths. The brilliance of sunlight 
was replaced by pitch darkness. It 
was lighted momentarily by the bril- 
liant flash of a magnesium-atomic 
exploding against the wall beyond 
him as the patrol ship took a des- 
perate shot at him in a crippling at- 
tempt. The light showed Brand what 
he needed, and for the next six sec- 
onds he drove the cruiser down a 
narrow, slanting shaft with death at 
each elbow. Then and only then did 

he turn on the lights. 

A scream came from behind him. 

"Martin! We're going to crash! 
. . . This tunnel turns at right angles 
two miles down!" 

Looming up a mile ahead was the 
wall of rock that seemed to be the 
end of the tunnel. Rockets roared 
and flame filled the crater shaft as 
Martin gave the decelerators every- 
thing the ship had. Blackness reeled 
in on him, but he hung on grimly, 
ignoring the pain in his chest that 
threatened to engulf him in uncon- 

Even through the walls of the ship 
the scream of the bow rockets was 
audible . , . and it was the last thing 
Brand heard before he sighed help- 
lessly and eased down into a feathery 
oblivion — that and his own tortured 
voice whispering in agony: "Damn 
those broken ribs . . 

It was a dream. It couldn't be 
anything else . . . waking in a bed, 
feeling a cool hand on his forehead, 
opening his eyes to stare up into the 
deep blue ones of the girl with the 
red hair — that had all happened be- 

"How do you feel now?" Kath- 
leen asked. 

He looked up at her, and puckered 
his brows. 

"I feel pretty good," he admitted. 
"But all this is a little cockeyed. It's 
happened before, and that isn't logi- 
cal. This time I'm only dreaming. 
I'll wake up, and find myself lying in 
the bottom of a crater . . ." 

He sat up, discovered that his ribs 
were still sore, but was conscious that 



all (he agonizing pain was gone. 

"Hey I I am awake! And this isn't 
a ship. It's . . ." 

"It's a hospital in Luna City," 
said Kathleen. "I flew you here after 
ducking the patrol in the crater shaft. 
They went on to the Black Hole to 
investigate. I found some papers in 
your clothes saying you were Edgar 
Barnes, prospector, and I told them 
I'd picked you up after you had been 
attacked by lu-bats." 

"How long ago was that?" asked 
Brand urgently. 

"Oh, I brought you here over a 
week ago. You've been in a pretty 
bad way." 

"I don't mean that!" exploded 
Brand impatiently. "How long ago 
since the patrol ship went into the 
Black Hole?" 

"They went in immediately after 
we eluded them. But no one in Luna 
knows it." 

"Any report since?" 

"I don't know. I had to hide my 
ship in a crater. Besides, the radio 
got smashed when we hit the 
wall . . ." 

"Hit the wall!" 

"Yes, but not hard. You had the 
ship nearly stopped when we reached 
the turn in the crater shaft." 

"You took over from there, hid 
from the patrol, and took me here, 
concealing my identity?" 


"Do you know what you've done? 
You've aided a criminal to escape. 
You've placed yourself in a situation 
as impossible to explain as my own. 
I'm a nobody now. I'm dead and 
buried. Even my mock-personality 

is non-existent. I am an assumed 
name which can't hold up a minute 
under inspection, with the strange 
angle that when the fraud is discov- 
ered, there's no real name to tack 
onto me. I'm the living example of 
a nonentity!" 

"Yes," she said. "I know what 
I've done." 

"Why are you doing it?" he asked 

She looked at him a long moment, 
then she spoke slowly. 

"First, because it's part of my 
work. I have a job to do, which is 
just as necessary for me to carry 
through, as yours is for you. Now, 
with the situation the way it is, the 
whole thing is left up to me. The 
second and I guess, the best explana- 
tion is because I love you." 

Brand sat bolt-upright in bed, 


Hor eyes met his steadily. 

"For ten years I've admired you 
— no, longer! I think I loved you. in 
a worshiping, little-girl way even be- 
fore your intended marriage. I was 
happy when I thought you had found 
your happiness, and I cried when she 
jilted you. I've cried many times since 
then — every time I heard another 
story of 'Suicide' Martin Brand and 
his reckless exploits on the space 
lanes. Everybody called you a lucky 
fool, a fighting daredevil who always 
seemed to bear a charmed life, who 
always won what he fought for. But 
I knew the real drive behind you. 
I knew the unhappinfess that filled 
you, the hurt you were trying to hide, 
the ache you were trying to kill, and 



the memories you were trying to 

"I joined the Service simply be- 
cause I loved you, and I wanted to 
find you, and follow you, and meet 
you . . . and try to take the place of 
that, that . . ? 

She paused and her eyes fell final- 
ly. But she went on: 

"Once I almost met you. It was in 
a bar. You were too drunk to notice 
anybody, and I was sitting nearby. 
I heard you say something that 
proved all I knew about what really 
goes on inside you. You said, to no 
one in particular, because you were 
alone: 'I wanted a woman, a woman 
who could ride the stars with me in a 
little cottage on the sea shore . . .'1 
When you said that, Martin, I dis- 
covered I wanted to be that wom- 
an .. 

Her voice ceased, and her eyes 
lifted again, looked at his. 

For a long moment there was 
silence while he looked at her, while 
he fought for something to say. Then 
it was she who spoke. 

"I know I'm making a fool out of 
myself, but what I've said had to be 
said now, because I think it will be 
the last chance I will ever have to say 
it. I'm going now, and I won't see 
you again. You had better go too. 
Your work is ended. You must leave 
here, because even if no one on Earth 
will believe who you are, there are 
people here who know 3 and they will 
see that you are removed." 

"You crazy little fool," said Brand 
chokingly. "You crazy little fool. 
Somebody ought to spank you." He 
swung bis legs out of the bed and 

stood trp. "Call an orderly. I want 
my clothes. I'm getting out of here 
right now, and I'm damned if I'm 
going to run away. Commander Wil- 
son is still my boss, and he gave me 
a job to do. I'm going to do it, if I 

She stood staring at him. 

"Please," she pleaded. "You must 
go away. You can't do anything. 
Even if you found out the truth, you 
couldn't make any Earth official be- 
lieve it . . ." 

"Then 111 do it myself!" said 
Brand, "I know the truthl" That 
Black Hole is filled with Martian bat- 
tleships, and they'll be coming out 
soon to blast at Earth. Then it'll be 
too late. And why you, who are sup- 
posed to be on the same mission I 
am, keep insisting on letting that 
happen, I can't understand. If you 
say you know me so well, and are in 
love with me, which is the wildest 
thing I ever heard of, then why dont 
you help me, instead of hindering 

Her face burned red. Then she 
spoke, and her voice was level. 

"I'll send an orderly. Put your 
clothes on and meet me in the lobby. 
We're going to the Black Hole . . . 
together/ And if you can show me 
those battleships . . ." 

She whirled and almost ran from 
the room while Brand stared after 
her in amazement and bewilderment. 

In a few minutes the orderly came, 
and Brand asked for his clothes. 

"I'm leaving," he said. "Please 
have my bill made out . . 

"It's been paid," said the orderly. 



Brand flushed. 

"Then get my clothes," he barked. 
"I'm in a hurry." 

Ten minutes later he walked down 
the hallway, rather unsteadily, but 
with growing strength as he regained 
a surety of step. He went down in 
the elevator, walked into the lobby. 
He glanced around, but saw no one. 

Suddenly he noticed two men ad- 
vancing toward him. One was dressed 
in the uniform of the Lunar Police. 
The other was the taxi-driver Brand 
had marooned in the crater-bottom 
near the Black Hole. 

"You're under arrest," said the 
Lunarian officer. 

Brand's eyes narrowed and he 
tensed himself. He eyed the taxi- 
driver who now was dressed in civil- 
ian clothes and stood looking at him 
with a strange calmness in his man- 
ner, a peculiar glint in his eyes. 

"What for?" asked Brand. 

"For theft, for attack with intent 
to do great bodily harm, for kid- 
naping, and if that isn't enough . . . 
for murder," said the officer. "Put 
out your hands." 

There was a pair of handcuffs in 
one hand, and a steam gun in his 
other. It was leveled straight at 
Brand's heart. 

As Brand put out his hands re- 
luctantly, there came a slight hissing. 
The light globe in the ceiling shat- 
tered, and the room was plunged into 
darkness. Brand hurled himself in- 
stantly to one side. A brilliant lance 
of white pierced the spot where his 
body had been. Brand stumbled over 
a chair, picked it up and hurled it 
savagely at the spot where the officer 

had been standing. There was a 
thud, a muffled curse, and (he sound 
of a falling body, but Brand wasn't 
waiting to hear more. He plunged 
toward the door, which was dimly 
lighted from the street lights outside. 

Without bothering to open it, he 
shielded his head in his arms and 
hurled his body straight through the 
thin plastic-glass. It shattered with 
a crash, and he fell to the sidewalk 
outside. Parked at the curb was a 
taxi, which Brand hurled himself 
into. With one savage blow he knock- 
ed the driver unconscious, then 
dumped him over the side. 

From somewhere down the street 
a white flash came. The glass of the 
windshield shattered and frosted 
weirdly under the effect of the in- 
tensely hot steam bolt from a steam- 
gun. But Brand had the taxi under 
way now, and it hummed into the air, 
flashed around the corner of a build- 
ing, and roared upward into the dark- 
ness of inner Luna. 

Behind him a fast ship, not a cab, 
was climbing in pursuit. Brand re- 
alized it was a police flier, obviously 
the vehicle of the officer who had 
come in to arrest him, with a fellow 
officer in it. Apparently the en- 
counter with Brand on his feet, when 
they had expected to arrest him in 
his bed, had caught them a bit un- 

The ship behind was by far faster 
than the cab, but Brand had gotten a 
good start. Now, against the pitch 
black of the inner world's eternal 
midnight sky, Brand Vnew it would 
be a difficult job for them to spot 



him. He made sure every light was 
out, then sent the cab hurtling on a 
tangent. Three times he changed di- 
rections, then zoomed down close to 
the rocky surface and slowed so that 
his motor roar became a dull hum- 
ming. He searched the black vault 
above him with keen eyes. 

The pursuing ship was nowhere in 

"Those Lunar police are no fools,** 
he said. "They've probably doused 
their lights too, and are waiting for 
me to come up again." 

Brand studied the faint lighted 
spots that indicated Lunar cities far 
above on the other side of the hollow 
ball and tried to determine his where- 
abouts. Finally he nodded grimly, 
then sent the taxi humming toward 
the north of Lunar City. If he hadn't 
forgotten, it was near there he would 
find a familiar crater . . . 

A half-hour later he was sure his 
directions were right. He rose higher 
in the air, and increased his speed. 
Ahead loomed the black spot that was 
the crater. Abruptly a brilliant beam 
of light bathed the ship in its rays. 
Behind him the police ship bore down 
on him. 

"Right!" gasped Brand. "He 
wasn't so dumb. That guy's a real 
policeman I" 

There was admiration in his voice, 
even as he shot the taxi down at the 
limit of its speed, straight for the 
edge of the crater. He looped over 
it fast, dropped down like a plum- 
met. Then he leveled off and landed 
on the now familiar ledge. He whirled 
the wheel of the cab, faced it on an 
angle toward the farther edge of the 

crater, stepped out, and shot the 
motor button all the way down. He 
dropped to the ledge in a heap as the 
taxi roared upward and away. It 
raced out of the crater like a meteor, 
its exhausts visible now with the tre- 
mendous speed. 

He dropped behind a boulder and 
waited. The police ship roared over 
the edge of the crater, spun violently 
to avoid collision, then looped to fol- 
low the hurtling, driverless taxi. Both 
ships bore away on a straight line at 
tremendous speed, and Brand chuck- 

"He thought I intended to drive 
him against the wall with that 
maneuver. Now hell follow until he 
gets me!" 

From behind Brand there came a 
shout, and he turned to see armed 
men pouring from the tunnel at the 
base of the ledge. They had seen him 
land, and were after himl 

Brand rose to his feet, ran back 
into the shadows along the crater 
wall and raced along. Around him 
bolts from steam-guns were hitting. 
He ducked low, unable to fire back. 
He had no steam-gun this time. It 
hadn't been with his clothes. A sud- 
den memory staggered him in his 
stride and he stopped in his tracks, 
retraced his steps several yards, anx- 
iously scanned the base of the crater 
wall where it met the floor of the 
ledge. His pursuers, amazed at this 
inexplicable maneuver, slowed down; 
several dropped behind boulders. 

Then Brand saw it . . , the atomic 
rifle he had taken from the Martian 
guard he'd killed the first time he 
landed on this ledge! 



He seized it, dropped flat on his 
stomach, and sighted at the advanc- 
ing men. Brilliant explosions rocked 
the ledge. Several men went down 
like stricken sheep. Brand fired 
quickly, methodically, and in a mo- 
ment the ledge before him seemed 
deserted. All of his attackers who had 
not been killed, had hidden them- 
selves as effectively as possible. 

Brand laid down a thundering 
barrage of shots that blanked out the 
ledge in waves of smoke and dust, 
then he leaped to his feet and ran 
back the way he had originally been 
heading. In the black shadows he 
almost ran into the aero-taxi where 
he had hidden it. With a thrill of 
thankfulness he climbed into it, slid 
into the driver's seat, and sent the 
craft humming into the darkness of 
the crater, hidden from view of the 
men on the ledge by the smoke that 
still hung thickly around the scene 
of the exploded atomic shells. 

A moment later he was over the 
edge and speeding forward toward 
the Black Hole. 

"Now to find out about that patrol 
ship," he said grimly. 

It was obvious that the system of 
caves through which he had traveled 
originally to reach the Black Hole 
was located between the crater he 
had just left, and the Black Hole it- 
self. Therefore, the Martians would 
be anchored directly below him and 
perhaps only four or five miles down. 

That hunch proved to be correct. 
As Brand allowed his aero-cab to 
drift slowly down in the inky black- 
ness, the bulk of a tremendous vessel 

loomed up suddenly, so close that he 
grazed the giant hull. 

Brand stopped the cab short, hung 
motionless under the belly of the 
great, deadly fish of space. He could 
see its bulk dimly, stretching for a 
thousand yards in each direction. 
Somewhere off to his left would be the 
wooden docks where the small cruis- 
ers were located. If properly fueled, 
one of those ships would be much 
better than the unarmed aero-cab. 
Against the giant battleships, they 
would be as impotent as a mosquito, 
of course, but Brand had no inten- 
tion of attempting anything so futile. 

He moved the aero-cab slowly 
along under the belly of the monster 
ship, noting the huge bomb racks 
with their gaping openings. Those 
bombs were hydrogen atomic bombs, 
just as were the bullets in his atomic 
rifle. They must never be loosed on 

He sent the aero-cab toward the 
wooden docks, and reached them in 
pitch darkness. With some unavoid- 
able bumping around, he managed to 
make the cab fast and climbed onto 
the dock. He couldn't see whether 
there were any cruisers tied up there 
or not. 

"Can't risk a light," he muttered. 

He dropped to his hands and knees 
and crawled along the docks, so as 
not to stumble off into space. At 
each mooring post, he felt for a cable 
that would indicate a cruiser moored 

Finally he found one. The gang- 
plank was down, and in a moment 
he had opened the 'lock and stepped 
inside. This ship was considerably 



larger than the one he had escaped in 
before. It was at least a ten-man 
cruiser, and when he had closed the 
lock, he fumbled for the light switch 
and snapped it on. 

Lying on the floor at his feet was 
the body of a Martian guard, his 
face seared away by a steam-gun 
blast and his body lying in a pool of 
blood 1 

"My Godl" eiclaimed Brand in 
stunned surprise, unable to fathom 
the meaning of this discovery. 

Swiftly Brand snapped off the 
lights and stood still. Was there any- 
body else on this ship? He listened 
intently, but heard no sound. Softly 
he made his way forward. This cruis- 
er would have a radio — and it was 
the radio he wanted to find. He 
reached the control room door and 
opened it softly. It was dark inside. 
He closed the door behind him, then 
groped forward. 

Behind him a flashlight beam 
lanced out, caught him full in the 
back. His own shadow loomed gi- 
gantically against the control board 
ahead of him. 

"Don't move," said a chill fem- 
inine voice. "Raise your arms into 
the air slowly 1" 

"Estelle!" he gasped, and whirled 

"Martini* 1 For an instant the voice 
held unutterable shock, and she stood 
as though paralyzed. He couldn't see 
her face distinctly behind the bright- 
ness of the flashlight, but for an in- 
finitesimal fraction of a second, he 
thought he saw annoyance mirrored 
in her tight lips. 

Then abruptly she snapped out the 
flashlight and was in his arms, her 
lips pressed against his passionately, 
devouringly. She was sobbing. 

"Oh Martin, Martin, I'm so glad 
you've come back. I'm in terrible 
trouble . . ." 

Brand stood there, holding her in 
his arms tightly, a strange tumult in 
his breast. 

"Estelle ..." he choked. "I . . 

The soft shaking of her shoulders 
and hungry pressure of her lips 
stirred him as nothing had ever 
stirred him before. But even in the 
confusion of it all, he remembered 
the near-miss of her guns as she had 
tried to shoot him down as he escaped 
into the Black Hole. 

She must have sensed the doubt 
in his half-yielding lips, and reading 
his mind, she said, "You thought I 
was shooting at you?" she questioned 
tearfully. "I wasn't, Martin. I only 
wanted to make it look as though I 
was trying to get you. So that Jeffry 
Killian would trust me when I came 
back to him . . ." 

His hands were on her shoulders, 
holding her at arm's length. 

"Came back?" he asked. "You 
mean you wanted him to believe you 
were a friend, and your real inten- 
tion was revenge?" 

"Yes," she said slowly. "I hate 
him . . . more than I love you, if 
that's possible. I wanted to kill him; 
torture him slowly first, then kill him 
just as slowly. But I . . ." she paused. 

Brand tried to see her features in 
the dark and failed. 

"What did you say?" he whis- 
pered hoarsely. 



u l wanted to kill him ..." she 

"No, nol You said something 
else . . .» 

She lifted his hands from her 
shoulders, pressed close to him, and 
this time her lips kissed his cheeks, 
his lips, his nose, and finally buried 
themselves at his neck. 

**I said 'as much as I love you'," 
she whispered. "And I do, Martini 
Oh, I dol So very much . . 

A fiery exaltation was suddenly 
surging through Brand's veins, and 
there was exultation in his voice. 

"Thank God, Estelle, I've gotten 
you back at last! I've been going 
mad for ten years, with hunger for 
you, with memories . . 

He kissed her lips tenderly, then 
he stood erect and gripped her arms 

"You said you were in trouble I 
What kind of trouble? Who killed 
that Martian soldier in the corridor?" 

"I did. I had to. He was guard- 
ing the cruiser — they've put a guard 
on everything now, since your es- 

"But why?" asked Brand. "What 
was so urgent on this ship that made 
you kill a man to get into it? Were 
you running away?" 

"No. I wanted to send a radio 
message, and this is the only way I 
could do it without Jeff finding out 
where it came from, or who sent it." 

"A message to whom?" 

"To Commander Wilson. I knew 
he was your superior officer, and I 
had to know if you had escaped, and 
what you were doing. There's so 

much that has been going on while 
you were gone! Martin, they're al- 
most ready! The attack will come 
any day now!" 

"Estelle," said Brand soberly. "I'm 
afraid there isn't much I can do about 
it. I'm' in trouble too, and there's no 
way out. You see, Commander Wil- 
son is dead. Officially, so is Martin 
Brand. In my identity as Robert 
Wales, I am a political criminal, and 
all record of my work as a Special 
Service agent is destroyed. I'm no- 
body, Estelle, except a nameless pros- 
pector wanted for murder by the 
Lunar police. I've got a job to do, 
and no one to help me do it. I've 
got to work entirely alone." 

"What are you going to do?" she 

"Just what you intended to do," 
said Brand. "I'm going to use that 
radio. But first, you must tell me 
something. Has there been any ac- 
tion down here? Has an Earth Patrol 
ship investigated? And if so, what 
happened to it?" 

She shook her head. 

"No. I'm sure of it. There has 
been no disturbance. But I do know 
that several more battleships have 
arrived, and many transports. They 
are strung in a long line straight 
down from this anchorage. They have 
sufficient force to invade Earth and 
subjugate it. The moon will be a 
simple matter. One battleship and 
one transport can take over the 
Lunar cities at will. The battleship 
will anchor at the center of the moon, 
command all the cities at long range, 
and blast those that nefuse to sur- 



"The Martians will take over all 
the space ports, and fifth- columnists 
will aid in this work. Jeff said there 
were two hundred thousand fifth- 
columnists waiting for the battleship 
to emerge and destroy the main entry 
shaft. That will be the signal for the 
fifth-column attack." 

"But that's suicidal!" said Brand. 
"How will they get the battleships 
out of the moon to attack Earth, 
with the main entry shaft gone? 
That's the only crater shaft large 
enough to admit such ships." 

"They came in at Copernicus/' 
said Estclle. 

"Copernicus t Impossible I That 
crater has a solid bottom." 

"No it hasn't. Martian engineers 
have been working on it for two 
years, constructing a huge shaft at an 
angle, so it isn't visible from above. 
Naturally no one ever visits that 
hellish hole." 

"That's bad," said Brand. "Not 
even the Earth patrol will detect the 
Martians until they actually attack. 
Patrol ships don't cover the area be- 
tween Earth and Luna." 

"They'll win, Martin/' said Estelle. 
"They'll -win!" 

There was a strange note in her 
voice and her trembling, strangely, 
had stopped. 

"Maybe not!" said Brand grimly. 
"Give me that flashlight I'm going 
to try to pick up that patrol ship. 
I'm sure it's still searching some- 
where in the Black Hole. I'll have to 
get him, or nobody. The radio in this 
cruiser won't penetrate the Lunar 
crust, and can't reach the Earth." 

Estelle gave him the flashlight, and 
he turned it on. He turned to the 
radio, and seated himself. He snapped 
on the switches, waited while the 
tubes warmed up, then pressed the 
sending switch. 

"How do you know the wave- 
length?" asked Estelle curiously. 
Brand ignored her question for the 
moment. Instead he began calling 
tensely into the microphone. 

"Robert Wales calling Patrol Ship 
N-twenty-seven. Calling Patrol Ship 
N-twenty-seven. Robert Wales call- 
ing Patrol Ship N-twenty-seven. 
Please come in, N-twenty-seven. Ur- 
gent. Please come in . . ." 

"N-twenty-seven, answering Rob- 
ert Wales," a voice suddenly crackled 
from the receiver. "Who the hell are 
you, and where are you?" 

"Never mind ■-who I am," said 
Brand. "Where are you?" 

"Nice work, if you can get it," 
said the voice from the ether. "Hold 
on a minute, I'll call Captain Craig. 
He'll talk to you." 

"There is an Earth Patrol ship in 
the Black Hole!" gasped Estelle. 

"Sure . . ." Brand turned to her 
with a curious look. "What's so odd 
about that? It was sent in here to 
investigate and it never came out, so 
it's still here." 

"But who sent it?" asked Estelle. 
"Certainly you wouldn't — it would 
be suicide, if they did find the battle- 
ships. Why, in one second they could 
be blasted to bits I" 

"I know, and I didn't send it. 
Kathleen . . ." 

"Captain Craig calling Robert 



Wales," came a familiar voice from 
the radio. "What is your message?'' 

"Listen, Captain," said Brand ur- 
gently. "Radio Earth and tell them 
to send a task force to blockade 
Copernicus crater, and to investigate 
escape shaft at its bottom. Martian 
battleships are planning to emerge 
from it to attack Earth. This attack 
may be soon . . ." 

"I recognize your voice!" said Cap- 
tain Craig in sharp interruption. "So 
you're using your real name now, 
eh? Before it was Martin Brand. I 
checked on that again, you lousy 
traitor. Martin Brand is dead and 
buried, as official as hell. And you 
are an exile from Earth because of 
seditious acts. Come again, Wales. 
If you think an Earth task force will 
be lured into any Copernicus trap, 
you're mistaken. I'll call Earth all 
right, and the whole Patrol will be 
out after your hide." 

"Captain," said Brand angrily, 
"you are a fool! Do you think it's 
logical that anybody could hope to 
gain from the destruction of any 
single Earth unit? I tell you, the 
danger is urgent. So long as you are 
in the Black Hole right now, you 
have the opportunity to check. If I 
show you a fleet of Martian battle- 
ships, will you believe me?" 

"I've got eyes," said Captain Craig, 
"and from the sound of you, you're 
pretty close to us. What did you do 
to Miss Dennis?" There was a hard, 
cold, furious note in the patrol cap- 
tain's voice. 

"I left her in Luna City, where 
she took me to the hospital . . ." 

" You skunk /" Captain Craig's 

voice blasted from the receiver. "So 
you're Edgar Barnes tool I picked 
that up on the radio just a few hours 
ago. Killed an Earth citizen, kid- 
naped a taxi-driver, marooned him 
in a crater, and left him to die. Only 
he didn't die. He got out, and came 
to the police with enough to hang 
you . . ." 

"Listen, you stupid ape," said 
Brand lowly. "I'll give myself up to 
you right now, if you want to come 
and get me, but when you pick me 
up, you'll also see those battleships. 
This is the only way I can carry out 
my work. Commander Wilson had 
me covered, but an explosion and fire 
destroyed any evidence I had to prove 
my identity. You can believe what 
you wish — Martin Brand, Edgar 
Barnes, or Robert Wales. Now if 
you'll point your ship wherever you 
are, in the direction of Luna city, 
and keep your eyes open, you'll see 
something very soon. As soon as you 
see it, I'll be coming at you from that 
source, to come aboard. After that, 
the rest is up to you." 

There was a moment's hesitation 
from the receiver, then the voice of 
the captain came again. 

"Whoever you are," he said slow- 
ly, "you sure sound sincere. Okay, 
buddy. Show me something, and I'll 
radio Earth so fast it'll singe the hair 
off every Martian on Luna!" 

"Attaboy, Captain," said Martin 
Brand thankfully. "And one more 
thing, whatever you do, don't come 
too close. You can't beat what's lying 
here, and I would like to get out alive, 
if possible. I've got a friend here, 



who . . Brand turned to smile tri- 
umphantly up at Estelle and broke 
off in mid-sentence. "She's gone ! " he 

"Who's gone? " asked Captain 
Craig's voice. 

"Never mind," yelled Brand. 
"Watch in the direction of Luna City 
for fireworks, right down in the Black 
Hole. I've got to stop that girl . . . 
she's gone after Jeffry Killian , . 

He snapped off the key and whirled 
toward the doorway. He plunged 
down the corridor recklessly, stum- 
bled over the corpse of the Martian 
guard, and reached the gangplank. 

As he stepped down to the dock, a 
brilliant searchlight beam winked on, 
and caught him full in its brilliance. 

"Put up your hands!" came a 
shout. "Don't move another step!" 
Brand halted, baffled and angry. 

Several Martian soldiers came out 
of the darkness and gripped his arms. 
They marched him along toward the 
caverns he had once escaped from. 
Their faces were grim. 

"You didn't know when you were 
welt off!" said one. 

"Yes/' said the other. "When Miss 
Carter gets hold of you, you'll be 
worse off than before. She's really 
doing a job running this show! An 
order from her is as good as one 
from the Commander, himself. I gotta 
hunch it'll be Mr. and Mrs. Jeffry 
Killian, governors of America, or 
something like that, when we smash 
the Earth in a couple of days. Smart, 
that dame . . ." 

Brand's blood ran cold in his veins. 

"What's that you say?" he fal- 

The Martian laughed hoarsely. 

"Say, did you think you had a 
chance with that baby? She's ice. 
I don't know how she does it. Maybe 
it's because she was crazy once. She 
sure isn't now! Why the other 
day . . ." 

"Look out!" screamed the other 
guard. "Lu-bats!" 

The sweeping rush of wind that be- 
tokened the dive of one of the mons- 
ters of the Black Hole screamed down 
at them on the narrow ledge. One of 
the guards lifted his atomic rifle and 
began firing blindly. 

"There's more than one!" scream- 
ed the guard again. "There're three, 
at least. We'll never get 'em in time 
. . . We're done . . 

"Steam -guns!" shouted Brand. 
"Train your steam guns on the car- 
cass, you fools! They can be blown 
up that way ! " 

"That's right/' shouted one of his 
former captors, now shrinking back 
against the cavern wall, trying to pull 
his steam-gun out of its holster. 
"You pulled that trick before, didn't 
you . . .?" 

Brand snatched the pistol from his 
grasp, trained it aloft, and pressed 
the trigger. The other guard was do- 
ing the same. The scream of the 
wind from the diving lu-bats was a 
shriek in their ears now, as they 
came down to the They had 
undoubtedly been attracted by the 
searchlight, whose beams still bathed 
the docks and the pathway. 

Suddenly the lu-bat Brand had 
concentrated on blew up with a ter- 
rific roar and a blinding flash of 



flame that communicated itself to one 
of its two companions, and it too 
went off with a thunderous blast. 

But the other lu-bat came on, 
seemingly oblivious of the holocaust 
of brilliance around it that now lit 
up the crater for ten miles around. 
Desperately Brand added the fire of 
his steam-gun to that of the other 
guard, and suddenly the combined 
beams took effect. A third flaming 
carcass came plunging down like a 
meteor, to flash past into the depths, 
only a few yards from them. 

A hoarse scream of agony came 
from the guard with the steam-gun, 
and a large flaming fragment crashed 
down squarely on him. He screamed 
horribly once, then plunged off the 
ledge into the depths, a seared corpse. 

Brand whirled, half-blinded by the 
light, and raced down the pathway 
toward the docks. An atomic rifle 
bullet exploded just behind him, 
sending a cloud of rock splinters into 
his back that struck with numbing 
force. Brand whirled, flicked up his 
steam-gun, caught the Martian sol- 
dier squarely in the chest. He went 
down, dead before he hit the rocky 

At the other end of the dock, a 
small cruiser darted out toward one 
of the battleships and Brand cursed. 

"Who the hell . . ." 

Then it dawned on him and he 
went white. 

"Estelle!" he choked. "She's in 
that ship . . ." 

He stumbled on down to the 
cruiser, and clambered into it. He 
shut the door, and made his way to 
the control room. Just as he reached 

it, he saw Estelle's ship reach the 
side of the monster warcraft, saw 
it slip into an air-lock that opened 
to receive her. 

Brand snapped open the radio key, 
waited impatiently while the tubes 
warmed up, but as he waited, he 
slammed home the motor levers and 
drew the ship away from the dock. 
He cursed when the ship stopped 
with a jolt. He'd forgotten to cast 
off the mooring cable. 

His finger pressed down savagely, 
and as the cruiser leaped away, half 
the dock tumbled Into the abyss of 
the crater behind him, and he grinned. 
Perhaps that hadn't been a half -bad 
mistake, at that. Now any pursuers 
couldn't reach the other cruisers to 
take off after him. 

He sent the cruiser hurtling at right 
angles away from the huge battleship. 
Now that the lu-bat carcasses had 
disappeared into the depths, their 
brilliant flames extinguished, he lost 
himself in the blackness that had 

Pressing the radio key, he called 
anxiously into it. 

"Martin Brand calling Captain 
Craig, Patrol Ship, N Twent . . ." 

"I hear you I" came the excited 
voice from the receiver. "And boy, I 
see you too! We're only a dozen 
miles away, straight out. Get off "the 
air, Brand, or Wales, or whoever 
you are, I'm radioing Earth head- 

"Go ahead!" yelled Brand. "And 
start running. If those battleships 
spot you, it'll be curtains. Full speed 
away! Quick!" 

He snapped off the radio and sent 



the cruiser flashing along the crater 
wall. When he reached a spot where 
a sort of indentation offered conceal- 
ment, he edged into it. Then he 
stopped the ship and waited. He lis- 
tened intently to the radio, heard 
Craig's voice calling urgently into his 

"Patrol Ship N- twenty-seven, call- 
ing headquarters," he barked. "N- 
twenty-seven calling Earth . . . Come 
in, Earth headquarters . . 

Suddenly a brilliant beam of light 
cut through the Black Hole as a 
searchlight on one of the battleships 
— the one Estelle had boarded — 
flashed on. A moment it flicked 
through the void like a giant sword, 
then suddenly it caught a tiny note, 
lost it once, then held it fast. 

"Damn!" said Brand, clenching his 
fists. "They've spotted the N-twenty- 

A flash came from the battleship, 
and Brand could follow the course of 
it along the searchlight beam, saw it 
end at the tiny fleeing mote. There 
was a brilliant burst of flame, and 
the voice of Captain Craig in the re- 
ceiver cut off abruptly. 

And as its echoes died, Brand re- 
alized the truth — -the message had 
not gotten through. Earth had not 
yet replied to its patrol ship's call! 

Martin Brand sat in stunned 
silence for several long moments. 
Now, when he'd been just on the 
verge of the success of his mission, 
failure had blanked him out as com- 
pletely as he had ever been. The luck 
of "Suicide" Martin Brand had come 
to an end. 

The Earth was entirely unaware of 
the danger that threatened it. Estelle 
had tricked him. She had played up 
to him, fooled him with caresses. He 
thought almost subconsciously, with 
strange agony, of the red hair and the 
blue eyes of Kathleen Dennis, and a 
strange pang struck into his breast. 
A great anger was beginning to grow 
inside him, and it expressed itself in 
words now; words full of bitterness 
and hate that echoed through the 
silence of the control room. 

"She wasn't sane! No sane person 
could have acted that superbly. Her 
mind might have regained its func- 
tions, but all the good in her, if there 
ever was any, had been killed. She 
was . . ." 

He found no word to describe her. 

Suddenly the radio receiver crack- 
led and a voice came over it. 

"Estelle Carter, calling Martin 
Brand," came the soft tones, but soft 
only in the sense that they were not 
loudly spoken. 

In a sort of stupefied surprise, 
Brand clicked open the switch and 
answered. "What can I do for you 
now?" he said sarcastically. 

"I, too, remembered the wave- 
length," her soft voice came to him 
mockingly. "And I am sitting in the 
control room, speaking over the pri- 
vate radio of the Commander of the 
Martian Invasion Fleet Enroute to 
Earth. In a few hours, I will take 
off to blast the Lunar entrance, and 
take control of the inner world. The 
rest of the fleet will proceed, under 
my orders, through Copernicus to 
Earth, to destroy the defenses. Earth 




will have to surrender in a matter of 


"Then, because it was I who did 
it, I will be able to dictate my own 
terms. I shall rule the Earth as the 
representative of the Martian govern- 
ment. I shall be truly an empress of 
the world, as there never has been 

"You're mad I" said Brand. 

"No," she said in the same level 
tones. "Mad once, but not now. To- 
day I am the sanest person alive. I 
am, I realize it now, the ultimate 
example of sanity. All people have 
some insanity in their make-up. I 
have none. Everything but absolute 
logic has been erased from my brain. 
I am not hindered by emotion, al- 
though I understand fully what it is, 
and can simulate it if necessary. You 
should know that. 

"If you had been as I am, you 
would not have been tricked by your 
emotions. You would have seen 
through my empty kisses, because, in 
the light of cold reason, they had no 
foundation. But you let your body 
rule your reason. You responded, and 
forgot to think ..." 

"You're possessed by the devil!" 
croaked Brand. 

"I am a sane, logical, steady- 
minded human being. Perhaps, the 
only one who has ever lived." 

"What . . . how did you do what 
you have done?" he asked. 

"Remember the Martian you found 
dead in the ship in which you now 


"I told him that be could rule 

Earth with me, so he killed Jeffry 
Killian for me, while I watched. I! 
was very interesting to see him die 
knowing that he was paying for what 
he did to me ten years ago. Perhaps 
that is the only emotion that I still 
retain to a slight degree, the ability 
to hate. But when it is satisfied by 
revenge, it is a very pleasurable emo- 

Brand listened with horror to this 
cold recital, but it was not finished. 
She went on: 

"I had persuaded Jeffry Kilhan to 
commission me as his first lieutenant, 
and now, with him dead, I was able 
to take command without question. 
So under the ruse of going out to the 
flagship to take over command, I led 
my Martian friend to the cruiser, and 
told him the truth. Then I shot him 
in the face. He was a very surprised 

"I told the truth when I said I 
was calling Commander Wilson. I 
wanted to know where you were. You 
have proved a pastime for me more 
than once, and I would have been 
very interested in making you be- 
come a traitor for love of me, But 
this way is better. I don't intend to 
bother you again. You are in a sit- 
uation that is perfect. Even I could 
not have figured out a better predica- 
ment. It will be interesting to watch 
what happens to you." 

But Martin Brand was no longer 
listening to the mocking voice. Lurk- 
ing in the depths of his mind was a 
response to this jumble of words he'd 

He sent the cruiser out into the 
Black Hole, all lights doused, and 



drove it brjck toward the giant bat- 

The voice of Estelle Carter went 

"Are you listening, Martin Brand?" 

"Yes," he said grimly. 

"Good. I am curious to know who 
Kathleen is? Could it be that the 
heart-broken, bitter, savage soldier of 
space found a new love after all? 
If yon did, then it must have been a 
weak luve indeed, to wilt that mo- 
ment 1 threw myself into your arms!" 

Brand did not answer. Instead he 
was intent on a giant black bulk 
looming up ahead of him. He dipped 
the cruiser down, proceeding slowly 
and silently in the darkness. 

"I see you do not answer me," 
mocked Estelle. "You are afraid that 
I will find her and do something to 
her. That is silly. If she really loves 
you, and you her, I would not think 
of destroying the beauty of that love, 
and the trials and tribulations it will 
have to endure because of the in- 
tolerable situation that exists for 

"Certainly you can never make her 
happy. You can never marry her. 
You can only face the reality of being 
nobody at all. You haven't even a 
name you can call your own. As 
Martin Brand you are dead. As 
Robert Wales you are a traitor and 
seditionist, with no rights of citizen- 
ship on any world, therefore no right 
to marry. As Edgar Barnes, you are 
a murderer, and as such, will be exe- 
cuted if caught, according to Lunar 

The mocking voice went on. 
Brand's jaw tightened as he listened, 

and he finally maneuvered the cruiser 
beneath the tremendous belly. Final- 
ly he had the ship hanging motion- 
less, then he spoke. 

"Listen, Estelle," he said quietly. 
"I've been letting you talk on, listen- 
ing to you gloat over me. It's been 
very interesting to me. I can, of 
course, only judge you on an emo- 
tional basis, since I am not as 'sane' 
as you are. To me, your present con- 
dition is something to pity, and if I 
feel anything at all about you now, 
it is a large measure of sympathy. 

"I am sure you are not responsible 
for your actions, and although for a 
moment I felt that I hated you, now 
I only pity you. I must destroy you 
because your warped mind is the 
most dangerous thing that has ever 
faced Earth's peace and happiness, 
and threatened it with permanent 

"Mars may conquer Earth, but 
wars come and go, and freedom is 
won again. But if you were to come 
in power, with your mad mentality, 
then indeed a sad thing would hap- 
pen to the world I love. 

"That is why I am going to destroy 
you now!" 

For a moment there was silence, 
then Estelle's voice came to him cold- 
ly, with short-clipped words coming 
from her lips like venom from the 
fangs of a snake. 

"It is you who are mad now, 
Martin Brand! You speak wildly of 
destroying. You can destroy nothing! 
You sit there in a tiny tenman cruiser, 
hiding like a rat in some hole in the 
wall You have at your disposal one 



small cannon, which fires an atomic 
shell capable of smashing only a small 
destroyer. What can you do to me 
here in the mightiest battleship in all 
the solar system? You . . ." 

Martin Brand interrupted. 

"That atomic cannon you speak of 
is pointing at the moment straight 
into the bomb rack of your mighty 
ship. It will send that atomic shell 
you speak of straight into the mag- 
azine of your battleship. And when it 
explodes . . ." 

"You lie!" shrieked Estelle Car- 
ter. "You lie! You are nowhere near." 

"Before you die," said Brand, 
"there is one thiijg you can think of. 
What is that emotion in your voice 
now? I'd call it fear. Fear is a terri- 
ble thing, Estelle, and because I pity 
you, I don't intend to let you suffer 
any longer. My finger is on the trig- 
ger . . * 

Martin Brand pressed the trigger, 
and with the other hand sent the tiny 
ten-man cruiser peeling off in a tre- 
mendous swooping dive straight out 
and down into the Black Hole's 
depths. Behind him a great mush- 
rooming flame grew and grew until 
it seemed that it would catch up to 
him and destroy him too. But it 
tossed him on, like a feather before a 
gale, and his senses reeled with the 
awful sensation of a dive almost 
more than human tissue can stand. 

Even through the reeling of his 
mind, he heard the thunder of the 
holocaust he had set off behind him. 
All was flame and light and smoke 
and bursting sound in the Black Hole. 
And added to it was a new thunder 
that was not that of rending metal, 

but of shattering rock. 

He brought the buffeted cruiser to 
a steadier pace, and looked back 
when his sight had cleared enough to 
see what had happened behind him. 

Like a slow-motion move, the 
whole wall of the crater was toppling 
over, engulfing all the cataclysmic 
holocaust of shattered ships as though 
it had been but a match-flame in the 
darkness. And many minutes later 
the whole mass came to rest on the 
side of the crater and once more dark- 
ness fell over the scene. 

The Martian armada was no more. 

And then, Martin Brand, desperate 
dare-devil of space, bowed his head 
in his hand and cried. 

The lights of Luna City were 
bright before him, several hours later, 
as he brought the cruiser slowly for- 
ward. In his mind were crowding the 
memories of the past hours, and he 
gave no thought to his own situation. 
Nor did he do more than glance idly 
at the small ship that bore down on 
him now from above and behind. It 
was only when his radio crackled, and 
a voice came through the receiver, 
that he stirred, and the grim immo- 
bility of his features changed. 

"Lunar patrol ship A-forty calling 
cruiser below us — land at Luna City 
spaceport and no tricks. We'll blast 
you if you make a move I " 

Brand drove the ship slowly to- 
ward the spaceport and brought it 
down. The patrol ship landed behind 
him, and he stepped put to meet the 
two figures who climbed from it. One 
of them was familiar, clad in the trim 
uniform of an Earth Patrol agent, 

118 OTHER ' 

red hair gleaming under smart mil- 
itary cap, and blue eyes expression- 
less in her white face . . . Kathleen 

The officer spoke. 

"Robert Wales, alias Edgar Barnes. 
I arrest you for murder, for attempt- 
ed sabotage, and for conspiring to 
destroy the peace of Luna and 

Martin Brand scarcely heard the 
charges. He was staring at Kathleen 
Dennis, at the hurt in her eyes, at the 
disgust on her face, and at the stiff 
unyielding posture of her trimly uni- 
formed figure. 

"Why are you looking at me like 
that?" he said. 

"You traitor/" she said in a low 

Brand reeled in shock, then step- 
ped forward. 

"What do you mean?" he asked. 

"Captain Craig radioed the whole 
story to Luna Headquarters just be- 
fore his radio blanked out, just be- 
fore you shot him down with that 
Martian cruiser you smuggled into 
the Black Hole!" 

"He was shot down by the Mar- 
tiansl" Brand burst out. "I blew up 
the magazine of the flagship, and the 
whole fleet was buried beneath a 
slide in the Black Hole . . 

"That'll be enough!" interrupted 
the Lunar officer. "Come along, 
Robert Wales. You are under arrest, 
and I promise you, this time you 
won't just be exiled. It's execution 
for you i " 

"But I tell you it's true. That's 
what Captain Craig was trying to 
radio to Earth headquarters — that he 

had seen those battleships in the ' 
Black Hole. They were ready to at- 
tack. Estelle Carter, completely mad, 
was in command . . * 

Kathleen's eyes opened wide. 

"I see it all now," she said. "I 
heard that she was released as cured 
. . She turned to the Lunar officer. 
"This man was exiled from Earth for 
sedition. He has attempted the same 
thing here. He has claimed to be 
Martin Brand, whom you know is 
dead. It was Martin Brand's old 
sweetheart he just mentioned. Some- 
where he got hold of that, and tried 
to use it to his own advantage. He 
is a traitor, and I leave him in your 

"We'll take care of him," promised 
the Lunarian grimly. "He won't be 
exiled again I" 

Kathleen turned to Martin Brand. 
In her eyes he saw a light that be 
himself had in his own eyes ten 
years ago. 

"I have a job to do," she said, 
"and I intend to do it! ? ' Then she 
turned and stalked swiftly away. 
Martin Brand found his wrists encir- 
cled by a pair of handcuffs. 

He stared down at them and a 
whisper escaped his lips. 

"The luck of 'Suicide' Martin 
Brand!" he murmured. "It's run out 
at last." 

He looked at her disappearing back. 
"It's all right, Kathleen. You'll get 
over it. But maybe someday you'll 
know that I had a job to do too, 
and I did it just as you think you are 
doing yours now in condemning a 
dangerous traitor!" 



It was silent in the tomb. Hal 
Orson, still deep in thought, became 
aware that Kathleen's sobs had died 
away as she stirred restlessly in his 

'T'm all right now, Hal." 

He released her almost automati- 
cally. She looked up at his intent 
face in the glow of the black light 

"What is it, Hal ... ?" 

"So — they lied to us," he said, a 
baffled note in his voice. "But why?" 
He sat down on the marble slab where 
it lay beside the empty coffin of a 
Martin Brand who was believed dead 
by three worlds. Why was it empty? 
Was it because , . . 

"He isn't dead," said Kathleen in 
a whisper. "That's why they lied. 
There would be no ether reason for 
it If he had been executed on Luna 
as a murderer and a spy, there 
would have been no reason to lie 
about Martin Brand's body ..." 

Orson nodded. "I get all that. We 
of the Service knew Martin wasn't in 
that tomb to begin with, that his 
death had been faked. This would 
avoid any possibility of Luna's link- 
ing Robert Wales with Martin Brand, 
and therefore with Earth politics, and 
thus uncover the secret of the Special 
Services and its work on Luna. But 
why didn't they leave it that way? 
All of us would have understood any- 
thing but this ..." 

"It's simple," said Kathleen. "This 
way, with everybody in the Service 
believing that Martin's body had ac- 
tually been recovered from Luna and 
put into the tomb it was supposed to 
occupy, no legend would be built up 

about it. No possibility of the fact 
that it really was empty could get 
out. It was just a logical precaution." 

Orson rose to his feet. "Then 
where is he? He was useless to the 
Service for any further work. There'd 
be no reason to keep away from me I 
I was his best friend ..." 

"I know why," said Kathleen calm- 
ly. "It's because he wasn't useless. 
It's because he's still working for 
the Service! I know it, as sure as 
I'm a woman." 


"Intuition . . . and because you 
can't love a man for eleven years as 
I have, without getting so close men- 
tally that you can sense whether he's 
alive or dead. I know he's alive; I 
can . . . feel him." 

Orson laid a hand on her arm, gen- 
tly. "Kathleen, you're a clever girl. 
You must be able to see the other 
possibility — that what you feel 
might just be wishful thinking. Love 
does strange things to the mind, 
sometimes ..." 

She whirled and pointed to the 
coffin. "Is that wishful thinking?" 
she demanded. "What strange thing 
is happening to your mind that makes 
you see an empty coffin when it's 
really not empty ..." 

"Score for you," said Orson. "I'm 
not seeing things — that coffin's emp- 
ty. And there's only one reason for 
thatl What that reason is, we're 
going to find out . . . " He stopped 
suddenly and groaned. ' "Kathyl 
We've got to get out of here and 
work fast. Tomorrow, when all this 
havoc is discovered, there'll be hell 
to payl If we're asked, where will 


we say we were tonight?" 

"This wasn't your idea," she said 
calmly. "We were in my apartment." 

"You say a thing like that, and 
I'll beat the tar out of you! You 
won't throw your reputation to the 
dogs to shield me. I'm no baby, 
either, Kathy, and don't forget it!" 

"I'm not going to let you get into 
trouble over mel" 

"I'm not going to try to keep out 
of trouble. Tomorrow I'm going to 
make trouble!" 

"What are you thinking of?" she 
said sharply. "Whatever it is, I 
forbid it I" 

He grinned at her. "Go ahead and 
forbid. You don't scare me at all. 
There's nothing you can do." 

She regarded him silently a mo- 
ment. "Oh, isn't there?" 

"No 3 there isn't. And now, we're 
getting out of here ..." 

He led the way out into the night. 

"I'm sorry, Mr. Orson, but the first 
available time on Senator Beasley's 
appointment list is three weeks from 
today. You can't possibly see him 
before then." 

"Will you pick up that phone," 
urged Orson, "and simply say Mar- 
tin Brand can't wait three weeks?" 

The secretary looked at Orson, 
then shrugged. "Maybe after a cryp- 
tic remark like that, he'll never want 
to see you, but if you insist ..." 

"I insist." 

The secretary lifted the phone and 
1 spoke rapidly into it. Then his eye 
brows lifted and he put the receiver 
down. "I'll take you in," he said. 
"Senator Beasley said he'd see you 

immediately. Whoever Martin Brand 
is — " The secretary stopped short, 
"Not the Martin Brand in the rifled 
tomb ! " he exclaimed. "Mister, if 
you're using this as a gag to see the 
senator, I'd advise you to start run- 
ning now, because you'll be in real 
trouble I " 

Orson grinned. "Wouldn't you like 
to know I" 

The secretary flushed and led Or- 
son to a door. He opened it and let 
Orson through it. Then he backed 
out, shut the door behind him. Orson 
faced the man at the desk, a large 
man with bristling eyebrows and 
square jaw. 

"Sit down," said the senator. 

Orson sat down in the chair op- 
posite the desk and remained quiet 
while the senator eyed him. 

"You know," said Senator Beasley, 
"there's no name more unusual for 
announcing yourself than that of a 
famous deceased hero. I should say 
that unless you have a very good rea- 
son I may be forced to ask you quite 
a few questions." 

"When I've asked you the ones I 
want to ask," said Orson, "I'll be glad 
to answer any you wish to ask. First, 
I've read the papers, and I know what . 
they say." 

"What do they say?" asked Beas- 
ley, folding his hands across his ex- 
pansive stomach. 

"They say that the body of Mar- 
tin Brand has been stolen from its 
mausoleum," said Orson. "Only it 

Senator Beasley slumped down a 
trifle more in his chair, and his voice 
remained deep and calm. "You were 



with her, then?" he asked. 

Orson stiffened with surprise in his 
chair. "With her . . .1" 

"Yes. And you know, as she does, 
that the coffin never had a body in 
it," Beasley concluded. 

Orson looked at the senator rue- 
fully. "Guess there's not much I can 
tell you, then," he said, "but how you 
know, beats me. Where'd you get 
your information?" 

"Fingerprints. You and the girl 
left them an over the place. Hers 
were easy to classify, and the identi- 
fication was placed on my desk an 
hour ago. I've been expecting your 
classification to arrive any minute. 
But you said something about want- 
ing to ask me some questions before I 
questioned you. I'd be glad to an- 
swer them." 

"You would?** 

Senator Beasley smiled. "Of course. 
Did you think I'd refuser" 

Orson shrugged. "I don't know 
what to think. I haven't known what 
to think ever since I found the coffin 
empty. You see, Martin Brand was 
my best friend. I've always mourned 
him as dead, and it's been something 
of a shock to find that he wasnt I 
don't understand it, sir, and least of 
all do I understand his not contact- 
ing me. That's the first question, 
sir: where is Martin Brand?" 

"On Venus — where Kathleen will 
be in a few days, unless we stop her." 

Orson leaped to his feet. "Kathleen 
— on Venus I But that's impossible, 
sir. I just left her a few hours ago." 

Beasley unfolded his hands, picked 
up a piece of paper from his desk and 
handed it to Orson. "I presume yo* 

are the person for whom this was 
intended," he said. "We found it in 
her wastebasket" 

Orson snatched the paper. It was 
unsigned but it was unmistakably 
in Kathleen's handwriting. It read: 
There is only one place he could be, 
and I am going there. Stay out of it. 

Senator Beasley spoke. "I assume 
It was her idea, judging from that 

"But it doesn't say Venus," said 
Orson. "How do you assume that's 
what she meant? And I'm in it as 
much as she is." 

"Is she in love with him?" 

"With a broken heart!" empha- 
sized Orson. 

"And are you in love with her?" 

Orson stared at the senator. "In 
love with her — ? You mean you think 
that's why I helped her?" 

"Is it?" 

Orson looked thoughtful. "If Mar- 
tin were dead, maybe I might think 
of it. But now that he's alive ..." 

"I see. Well, lad, let's have the 
rest of those questions." 

"Why has the government resorted 
to this— this flummery?" 

"The government hasnt resorted 
to it I handled the whole thing — at 
the request of the President. You, I 
presume, are a member of Special 

"I joined when Martin was — 

"Then you know why It was done, 
and why only the President and I 
know there was no body to be 
stolen," said Beasley. "Now we'll 
have to resort to some more — flum- 
mery — and pretend to find the body, 



apprehend the grave robbers, and re- 
store Mr. Brand to his mythical rest- 
ing place." 

"You're being quite frank," said 
Orson, "Why?" 

"Because you are the grave rob- 
ber," said Beasley quietly. "I'm 
afraid that with the evidence, in- 
cluding your own confession, no- 
body'd listen to a crazy story that 
the tomb was empty — especially 
when we find the body where you 
hid it." 

Orson sat quietly for a moment, 
considering the senator. **I see," he 
said finally. "It's an excellent bit of 
— flummery. But I have one more 
question ..." 

"Ask it." 

"Can I go to Venus too?" 

There was a long silence in the 
room, and finally the senator seemed 
to have made a decision. He leaned 
forward and pressed a button on his 

"Just as soon as you've been ex- 
ecuted," he said. 

Kathleen sat sipping a cocktail in 
the bar of the Venus de Milo cafe in 
Venus City. She remembered the 
weird experience of flying her own 
private ship into the milky atmos- 
phere of Venus, almost sixty miles in 
depth, where visibility was still as 
much as twenty miles, and coming 
out finally from the stratosphere into 
the perpetual rosy dawn-light that is 
Venus' day. She still marveled at the 
pink orb of the sun, a vague rosy spot 
in the milk-white. 

She remembered, too, the glimpse 
she had caught of the Patrol ship 

slipping quietly out of the milk-and- 
honey twenty miles behind her. She 
was almost sure they had been fol- 
lowing her, and yet she had cleared 
the spaceport without the slightest 
trouble. She'd gambled on that — the 
Special Service wouldn't have risked 
publicity by trying to stop her of- 
ficially — they'd stop her some other 
way. So she'd left the tarmac as soon 
as her papers had cleared. That had 
been several days ago. 

Now, sitting in the Venus de Milo, 
she felt sure they'd never recognize 
her. Her coppery hair was jet black, 
her eyes were slanted back, pulled 
into that position by invisible strips 
of tape that were concealed by her 
hairdo. Her fingers were joined by 
tiny webs that extended half-way 
out to the first knuckles, and the 
tiny moons in her fingernails were a 
brilliant green in color. Her com- 
plexion was faintly green also, as 
though her blood had been tinted be- 
neath the skin, as indeed it had. 
This effect was achieved by a new 
chlorophyll dye that turned the red 
corpuscles green without impairing 
their oxygen-carrying abilities. This 
effect would last for several days be- 
fore a renewed injection of dye was 

From all outward appearances, 
Kathleen was a Venusian, her dis- 
guise so perfect that not even a 
Venusian could detect any difference. 
She knew, however, that a member of 
Special Services would have little 
trouble spotting her. She was count- 
ing on the necessity for secrecy about 
the Special Service to protect her 
until she had discovered what she 



wanted to know. 

Seated around a table In a comer 
of the cafe were four Venusians, con- 
versing rapidly in low tones. Kath- 
leen bad been watching them ever 
since they came in, just as she had 
watched them tie first day. Now they 
seemed to be aware of her. Several 
times she caught them glancing in her 
direction, and conversing with faint 
frowns immediately thereafter. 

Finally one of them got np and 
sauntered toward her. Kathleen 
watched him come, observing his re- 
flection in the big mirror behind the 
bar. There was something oddly 
familiar about him, but try as she 
would, she could not place him. He 
was a Venusian, that was apparent, 
for a Martian could not possibly pose 
as a Venusian— she started— or he 
could be an Earthman in disguise. As 
he seated himself beside her, she was 
suddenly sure of it- Inwardly she 
felt an exultation; it meant she was 
on the right trarik. She knew now 
that the four were fifth columnists. 

"You're new here, aren't you?" 
the man asked, his voice strangely 
husky and familiar. There was a 
haunting timbre to it that wandered 
through her memory as though 
searching for something. 

"I don't believe I know you," she 
said, regarding his reflection in the 
glass, then sipping her drink casually. 

He grinned at her. "That can be 
remedied," he said, "besides it's a 
shame for so lovely a girl to be drink- 
ing alone." 

"I don't make friends easily— with 
strangers," she said, turning to look 

at him. As her eyes met his, that 
haunting sensation of familiarity 
heightened, and a tremor shot 
through her body. Suddenly she 
found herself breathing more swiftly, 
and for no real reason she felt afraid. 
Of what? Not of a Venusian spy, or 
a Martian fifth columnist— or of her 
life . . . What then? 

He half-turned on his stool. "Then 
perhaps we'd better remain strang- 
ers," he said. "I dont judge people 
by their names — and actually names 
mean nothing, so, if you'd prefer . . 
He slid off the stool with a polite nod. 

"Wait," she said. 

He stood looking at her. 

"Now that you're here, you might 
as well have a drink with me." 


Kathleen stared at him in surprise. 
Suddenly she felt a surge of anger 
rise in her throat. He was looking at 
the slew flood of green suffusing her 
white throat, and strangely there was 
a look of scorn in his eyes. 

"What kind of a man are you?" she 

"Generally I like to be alone," he 
said. "I'm a very bad Judge of fe- 
male character — and perhaps I've 
judged wrong again. If you'll pardon 
me ..." He bowed slightly, stiffly, 
and made his way back to his three 

Kathleen tossed off her drink with 
an angry gesture, then climbed down 
from her stool and marched over to 
the table. She faced the Venusian 
squarely. "My name," she said stiff- 
ly, "is Kay deNees. And I like to 
be alone too." She turned and walked 
stiffly from the cafe. As she passed 



a large mirror near the doorway, she 
saw the Venusian staring at her re- 
treating back. In his eyes was a pe- 
culiar expression and he looked puz- 
zled, as though he vere trying to re- 
member something also. Kathleen 
frowned. She felt more sure than 
ever now that somewhere before she 
had seen this Venusian — and he had- 
n't been a Venusian then. Who was 
he? As she walked slowly down the 
street outside, she searched her mem- 
ory diligently, but without success. 

So occupied was she with her 
thoughts that she was unaware of the 
swift approach of a dark figure until 
strong arms lifted her off her feet 
and hustled her toward a waiting car. 
She screamed shrilly once then a be- 
lated hand clapped over her mouth. 
She promptly bit the hand and 
screamed again. As she was thrust 
into the waiting car and seized by two 
Earthmen, she saw the door to the 
cafe burst open. The man who had 
accosted her at the bar dashed out 
and stood watching as the car drove 
away in a burst of speed. 

For a moment Kathleen was silent, 
studying the faces of her captors. 
"For Special Services men, you aren't 
very efficient," she observed. "You 
let me scream my head off. If Com- 
mander Wilson were alive, you'd be 

Suddenly she slumped down in the 
seat and began to cry. "Now I'll 
never find him," she said, her voice 
muffled by her sobs. "Why couldn't 
you let me alone?" 

One of the men handed her a hand- 

kerchief. "You'd have been dead by 
tomorrow morning if we hadn't 
snatched you, Miss Dennis. You just 
don't know what you were getting 
into. That mob had you spotted, and 
our man reported this morning they 
were going to check you today. If 
you didn't measure up you'd be elim- 
inated as a precautionary measure. 
And, who are you trying to find? . . . 
Say! Don't tell me you're looking for 
the guy who stole Martin Brand's 
body? If you are, you're behind the 
times. They found the body the day 
after you left Earth, and the man 
who stole it has been executed. If 
you ask me, the dirty grave-robbet 
got off easy . . ." 

The Special Services man stopped 
speaking in alarm and stared at Kath- 
leen's white face. "Joe," he said to 
his companion, "she really did love 
the guy. She's fainted 1" 

His companion began to chafe 
Kathleen's wrists. "Yeah," he said j 
sympathetically. "Ain't it a shame 1 
some people never get any breaks? ] 
Imagine a girl taking chances with 
her life this way looking for the body 
of her dead lover. She must have ; 
known it was just plain suicide ..." 

Several hours later Kathleen sat 
staring at the plain furnishings of an 
office in the Federal Building. Her 
to consider the horrible 
news she had heard, and her eyes 
were dry. So, when the doot opened 
and a man entered, she paid him 
scarce attention. 

"How do you feel now?" the new- 
comer asked. 
"All right, I suppose," said Kath- j 


leen dully. Then she turned to look 
at her visitor and stiffened in shock. 
The man facing her was one of the 
four Venusians she had been spying 
upon at the Venus de Mflo cafe. 

"Yes," he said. "I thought you'd 
recognize me. Actually, however, 
I'm Don Coleridge, a member of 
Special Services. I've been on the in- 
side with the fifth column for several 
months now. So, when you showed 
up, I knew the score." 

"What are you doing here, then?" 
she asked, wonderingly. "Won't this 
spoil everything for you?" 

"I don't think they'll find out. But 
I had to do something — don't you 
realize you were under suspicion? 
When the decision was made to kill 
you, I had to act to rave your life. 
So I notified my superior officer and 
had you arrested. That way, we hope, 
suspicion will be thrown off you." 

Kathleen shrugged. "What good 
will it do now? I'm useless to every- 

"Not at all. Youll find out about 
that in a few minutes. I'm going to 
leave now, but my purpose in com- 
ing here was to prove to you that I 
am on your side. Next time we meet, 
youll know that, but you won't give 
any sign. From now on, you're work- 
ing with me." 

"Working with you?" 

The disguised Venusian nodded and 
turned toward the door. "The su- 
perior officer will give you the details 
of the plan. Meanwhile, best of luck. 
And remember, I'll be handling the 
affair from the other end so you 
needn't be frightened. When you see 
me again, I will be Lieutenant For- 


sythe." He bowed himself out and 
closed the door. 

An instant later the door opened 
again. A man stepped in backward 
and closed the door before he turned. 

"Hall" shrieked Kathleen. "Hal 
Orson 1" 

"Not so loud I" said Orson in con- 
sternation. "Nobody here knows I'm 
Hal Orson." 

Kathleen rushed forward and threw 
herself into his arms. "They told me 
you'd been executed," she gasped. 
"Oh Hal, I've been going through 
hell thinking about it." 

"I know," he said, disengaging him- 
self gently, "but it had to be that 

Kathleen stood looking at him for 
an instant, then her eyes clouded and 
she sat down and cried quietly for a 
few moments. Orson stood looking 
down at her silently until she had 

"Ready for work now?" 

She looked up at him and nodded. 
"What kind of work?" 

Orson sat down beside her. "That 
Venusian who was just in to see you," 
he explained, "is one of our men. He's 
gotten pretty high in the enemy intel- 
ligence circle and this is all his plan. 
He saved your life by pulling this 
fake arrest; now he's arranging to 
'rescue' you." 

"Rescue me?" 

"Yes. Tonight youll be placed in 
a cell in the Federal Building jail 
and about midnight a group of Ven- 
usians will raid the place to free you. 
They'll encounter little resistance, a 
careless guard, and a great deal of 
overconfidence on our part. They'll 



succeed in rescuing you. After that, 
you'll be, we hope, another member 
of the SS in the enemy circle. 

"But what good will I be?" asked 

Orson grinned at her. "What 
you've got is exactly what we need 
now. You have no idea how effective 
a beautiful woman will be in prying 
secrets from these Venusians. They 
go for a pretty face and figure like 
nobody's business. I think you know 
how to handle yourself to best advan- 
tage there." 

Kathleen frowned. "I'm not so 
sure. I've had a little experience with 
one of those fellows already. He gave 
me the most beautiful brush-off I've 
ever gotten. If you ask me, there are 
some Venusians who could make a 
marble Venus shiver in a steam bath." 

"He was only the fellow picked to 
'feel you out' as it were, and decide 
if you were spying on them or not. 
He had no intentions of making up 
to you." 

Kathleen looked dubious. "He 
wasn't acting a part. That fellow 
really is a lone wolf. I played coy for 
just one sentence and he froze me 
off like . . ." Kathleen knit her eye- 
brows. "I've seen that man some- 
where before, but I can't place him 
at all," 

"Um," said Orson. "I don't like 

Kathleen looked at him quickly. 
"Never mind," she said. "It makes 
no difference. I'm sure he doesn't 
know me. The way he acted proved 
it. There'll be no danger." 

Orson laughed drily. "No danger! 
Kathy, you're in the most dangerous 

game in the Solar System now, and 
there's no doubt about it. We're all 
playing with the biggest potential ex- 
plosion ever imagined — and if we 
don't manage to touch it off where it's 
harmless, it'll be the end for more 
than we few SS men. Kathy, if we 
don't stop these fellows, it's curtains 
for Earth. What we've learned about 
what the Martians have on tap for us 
is . . . well, frightening. We've got 
to know when and where the first 
blow will fall, because the first blow 
will likely be the last. That's what 
you and I and Coleridge will be try- 
ing to find out." 

"I'll do my best," said Kathleen. 

Orson flashed a convincing smile 
and rose to go. "I know you will, 
Kathy. And Kathy ..." 


"I don't know where, but I know 
for sure that Martin is on Venus right 
now, alive and well. Headquarters 
lost all track of him because he re- 
quested to be entirely on his own, 
and we won't hear from him until he 
has something positive to report if 
by any chance you run across him 

Kathleen went white. 

"... don't do anything to give 
either of you away," finished Orson. 
"Don't let on by the slightest sign 
that you know who he is, or let him 
know about you — until it's all over. 
Of course, I don't think you'll meet 
him— the chances are extremely re- 
mote—but if you do ... " 

"You don't think I'd risk his life 
again, do you, Hal?" Kathleen said 
in strained tones. "I'd die first!" 

"I hope you don't," said Orson, 



wheeling abruptly and striding from 
the room. 

The long hours until midnight 
dragged interminably for Kathleen, 
lying on her bunk in the cell, trying 
desperately to get some sleep but fail- 
ing utterly to compose her mind. 

"Martin," she whispered into the 
darkness. "Oh Martin, if only I can 
find you — see you just once more 

She lay there, thinking, her eyes 
full of tears, but her heart full of 
hope. Outside, in the corridor, the 
sound of footsteps aroused her. They 
stopped at her door, and she heard 
the sound of a key grating in the 

"Come on out, Miss deNees," said 
a soft voice. "We're taking you out 
of here." 

She recognized the voice as that 
of Don Coleridge. As she stepped 
through the cell doorway, she saw 
the jailer standing with his arms 
slightly elevated, keeping a calcu- 
lating d careful eye on the two men 
who stood beside him. One of two 
masked Venusians had a steam gun 
trained on the jailer. Kathleen de- 
cided this one was Don Coleridge. 

"Thank you," she said. "I don't 
know why you're doing this, but I ap- 
preciate it." 

"We can make mistakes too, some- 
times," he said. "But come on, we've 
got to step lively. This is the quiet 
period around here, but it'll be tough 
if this fellow manages to spread the 
alarm. Well just have to silence him 
for awhile . . * 

Swiftly he chopped down with his 

gun at the neck of the jailer, and win. 
a moan the fellow dropped to the 
floor. The rescuers shoved him into 
the cell and locked the door, then 
motioned Kathleen to follow them 
down the corridor. They went down a 
side corridor and emerged finally in 
a driveway where a cab stood waiting. 
They got into it and the driver drew 
the car away from the curb without a 

For several minutes no one spoke, 
then Don Coleridge removed his 
mask and placed it in his pocket. 

His companion did the same. "That 
was almost too easy," he said. 

Coleridge grunted. "It was, Far- 
row, but I guess we were lucky. Or, 
I should say, you were lucky, Miss 
deNees. Do you realize that you'd 
have been in the toughest spot imag- 
inable if the Earthmen could have 
pinned anything concrete on you?'' 

Kathleen said nothing. 

"Okay," acknowledged Coleridge. 
w At least you're smart. But, you can 
trust us, if you will. As a matter of 
fact, you have no other choice now. 
If you aren't on our side, you'll be 
in a much worse fix than if we'd left 
you there — but we figured anybody 
they were mad at, ought to be a friend 
of ours." 

Kathleen shrugged. "I'm on no- 
body's side but my own. It's just that 
I hate Earthmen's guts — that's all." 

Coleridge regarded her calculating- 
ly for a moment. "Maybe you'd like 
a job," he said. "Maybe you'd like 
to do something they wouldn't en- 

"What's in it?* asked Kathleen. 
Farrow laughed, "Money," he said. 



"Isn't that what you want?" 

Kathleen read the inflection in his 
voice right, and turned to stare into 
his eyes. "Money isn't everything," 
she said. "But it's almost every- 
thing when you haven't got it. Can 
you think of a good substitute?" 

The sudden glint that carne into 
Farrow's eyes told Kathleen she was 
on the right track. He said nothing, 
however, and she sank back into her 
seat, satisfied that she had discov- 
ered at least one weak spot in the 
enemy armor. 

The cab left the city. Once on the 
highway outside the residential area, 
it crept off onto a side road. There, 
in the dark, a transfer was made to 
an aerocar, which took off immediate- 
ly on a course directly over the Venu- 
sian jungles. 

Kathleen glanced at Coleridge and 
he interpreted her look correctly. 

"Venus City is no place for any of 
us, from now on. We can't afford to 
take any chances. You'd be picked 
up in a minute back there. And we 
can't be sure how smart that jailer 
was, or how much he'll remember of 

"Should have killed him," said 

"You're too bloodthirsty," said 

"Not bloodthirsty; just practical — 
and smart." 

Coleridge looked at Farrow quiz- 
zically, but said nothing more. Kath- 
leen felt a sudden misgiving and she 
tried to study Farrow without seem- 
ing to be too interested in him. 

Several hours later the aerocar set 

down in a tiny clearing in the forest, 
and the three made their way into a 
tiny hut. Inside, Coleridge touched 
a rustic table that was securely fas- 
tened to the floor. The entire floor 
began to sink slowly into the ground; 
they were on a cleverly concealed ele- 

At the bottom they stepped off. 
The floor returned to its original 
level, and as it did so, a light came on. 
Kathleen saw they were at the end 
of a dim tunnel that led a short way 
into the earth before it turned. They 
followed the tunnel and entered a 
large, brilliantly lighted room. It was 
plainly furnished. Behind a large 
desk sat a saturnine- faced Martian. 

"Here they are, sir," said Farrow, 

Coleridge froze in his tracks for a 
brief instant, then saluted also and 
stood facing the Martian. Kathleen 
gave Coleridge one swift glance, then 
faced the Martian. Something had 
gone wrong here— definitely wrong. 

"You may go, Farrow," said the 

Farrow saluted again. He whirled 
on his heel, and walked back the way 
they had come. As he passed Coleridge 
and Kathleen he grinned knowingly 
and one derisive whispered word 
reached their ears. 


Coleridge tried to bluff it out. 
"This is Miss Kay deNees," he said. 
"She was picked up by Earth Secret 
Service men, so we decided we could- 
n't risk them keeping her. As it turn- 
ed out, sir, she is perfectly willing to 
work with us, and in my opinion we 
can put her to good use." 



i The Martian smiled. "I'm sore we 
can. As a matter of fact, we have 
already put her to excellent use. You 
Earthmen can't keep your heads in 
the presence of a pretty woman. If 
you could, perhaps we'd never be able 
to detect a spy in our midst" 

Coleridge had gone white, but 
Kathleen's eyes widened in astonish- 
ment and she whirled on Coleridge. 
"An Earthman!" she exclaimed. "Is 
this true?" Her astonishment turned 
to fury. "So, you tricked me! You 
Earthmen are all the same. Rescue 
me, will you I Now you've really got- 
ten me into trouble. Whatever's 
going on here, it strikes me as pretty 
dangerous, but if it's what I think it 
is, I'm all for it!— if that filthy, rot- 
ten mind of yours hasn't got me a 
jungle grave! " 

The Martian regarded her with 
amusement. "I can see, Miss deNees, 
why your superiors thought you 
could achieve success in a mission 
against us," he said. "You are clever, 
and a very good actress. Unfor- 
tunately for you, however, we have 
some clever men on our aide. Mr. 
Farrow very neatly uncovered the 
whole plot. As a matter of fact, he 
even has a series of interesting micro- 
photos of your consultation with your 
companion in espionage in the Fed- 
eral building back in Venus City. 
When he showed them to me, I ac- 
cepted his suggestion that we appear 
to fall for the plan, and bring about 
your rescue. That way, we'd bag both 
of you with a minimum amount of 
trouble — with actual SS assistance as 
a matter of fact" 

The Martian pressed a buzzer and 


an orderly entered. "Send me Cap- 
tain Lutain and ask Lieutenant Far- 
row to come back in, please." 

In a moment Farrow and Lutain 
entered. Kathleen recognized the 
captain at once as the man who had 
accosted her at the Venus de Milo. 

"Gentlemen," said the Martian, 
"we have here two spies. I am de- 
tailing one of them to each of you. 
Farrow, you will take the gentleman, 
and when you have taken him deep 
into the jungle, kill him and bury 
him In the quicksand. Lutain, you 
will do the lovely, if detestible, Miss 
deNees the same service." 

Captain Lutain spoke up. "If you 
would be so kind," he said, "I'd 
rather you'd spare me the task sir. 
Were she an Earthwoman, I'd have 
no compunctions, but since she is a 
Venusian, I'd rather not" 

The Martian laughed. "She's not 
a Venusian, but no matter. As a 
matter of fact, on second thought, I 
want to confer with you. Mission E 
is due to get underway on secret 
orders which may come within forty- 
eight hours. I'll appoint another man 

Farrow saluted and spoke, "Sir, 
there will be no need. I can take 
care of both spies. I started this 
matter, and I'd like the honor of fin- 
ishing it." 

The Martian's eyes lit in approval. 
"You're a good man, Farrow, but you 
must use dispatch. As a member of 
Mission E, it will be necessary that 
you return before the orders come." 

Farrow's eyes lighted with a feral 
glow. "I'll be here sirl I wouldn't 
miss being in on the big . . .* 



"That will do, Farrow. You had 
best be quick about your assignment 
if you want to be sure of that." 

Farrow smiled gloatingly and pro- 
duced his steam pistol. "All right, 
you two." he said, "walk ahead of 
me down the corridor. I know a 
quicksand deposit only a few hours 
away . . 

Kathleen, her heart in her throat, 
turned to walk down the corridor 
ahead of the prodding steam gun. 
She saw Captain Lutain staring at her 
again with that same puzzled look in 
his eyes. He took one impulsive step 
forward, then halted, shaking his 

The Martian misinterpreted his 
motion. "Farrow can take care of it, 
Captain,'' he said with a wave of his 
hand. "Besides. I want to check a few 
things with you right now." 

Kathleen squared her shoulders 
and marched into the gloomy corri- 
dor, a vague remembrance hammer- 
ing at her memory for recognition, 
but th;;re was no response — once 
more she failed to place the strange 
feeling she had when she looked at 
the Venusian captain. 

The orderly standing before Com- 
mander Hal Orson's desk in the Fed- 
eral Building at Venus City saluted. 

"What is it?" asked Orson. 

"There's a gentleman, a Venusian, 
here to see you, sir. He insists that 
it is extremely important, and he re- 
fuses to give his name." 

Orson nodded. "All right. Send 
him in, but stay on guard with your 
steam gun ready. We've had enough 
trouble with Venusians here already." 

The orderly wheeled and went out, 
returning in a moment with a Venu- 
sian dressed in plain clothes. 

The Venusian halted in bis tracks, 
a look of stunned astonishment on 
his face as he saw Orson. "My Godl'^ 
"ie said. "Hal!" 

"That will be all!" said Orson 
sharply. "Orderly, please withdraw, 
but remain on call." The orderly 

Orson faced the Venusian. "Now," 
he said. "Who the devil are you?" 

The Venusian grinned. "What's 
the matter, Hal? You seem mighty 
coy about your name, all of a sud- 
den. Back on Earth, in the SS, you 
used it without any qualms — don't 
tell me you've got in trouble, too, and 
had to give up being yourself? And 
since when can't a man address his 
former bunk mate by his first name?" 

"Martin!" exclaimed Orson. "Mar- 
tin Brand!" 

With one bound he was out from 
behind the desk and flung his arms 
around the tall figure. Then he grasp- 
ed Martin's hand and pumped it up 
and down "You >ld rascal!" he al- 
most sobbed. "You son of a gun! 
Damn your conscienceless hide . . ." 
He broke off, unable to continue. 

"What are you doing here?" asked 
Brand, returning his handclasp with 
equal vehemence. "I hardly expected 
my old pal to be in command in 
Venus City." 

"I'm not your old pal," said Orson. 
"I was executed for grave-robbing 
back on Earth, and now I'm just as 
much a non-entity as you are. I'm 
commander here because I know too 
much to be anywhere else. I know 



almost as much as you do about this 

"Grave-robbing?" asked Brand 
with a puzzled look. "What on Earth 
would you be doing robbing graves?" 

Orson swallowed uncomfortably. 
"That's a long story, Martin, and . . * 

"Then it'll keep," said Brand. 
"What I've got to tell you is much 
more important, and I haven't much 
time. Hal, this is serious, the most 
serious thing that can happen; and 
we've only one way out: The Mar- 
tians are sending in a big battleship, 
but it's the fastest thing in space, and 
there's not one chance in a million of 
intercepting it, or even of destroying 
it if we could intercept it— without 
knowing exactly what its course to 
Earth would be." 

Orson looked puzzled. "One bat- 
tleship? You mean they're attacking 
Earth with one ship? I can't see how 
that could make a great deal of dif- 
ference even if they get through. It 
just can't get them anywhere . . ." 

"This can! Hal, that ship is noth- 
ing but a generator ship — and the 
biggest thing you ever saw. It's sole 
purpose is to generate an impulse, 
from one Earth diameter out, that 
will cover the whole globe. That im- 
pulse will detonate hydrogen-bombs 
concealed in every great city, in every 
important area on Earth I These 
bombs have been hidden during the 
past five years by Venusian freight- 
ers, traders, and importers. Once that 
generator ship gets within eight 
thousand miles of Earth, our power to 
resist will be ended! The Martians 
will be able to come in at will and 
take over." 

Orson, his face gray, went back 
behind his desk and sat down heavily. 
"What will we do?" he asked. "What 
can we do?" 

"I've been assigned to that detona- 
tor ship," said Brand. "I'm one of 
the most trusted men in the whole 
plan. Don't ask me how I did it. 
Take it from me, if it's humanly pos- 
sible, that ship will not reach the 
Earth, or anywhere near it. I've made 
all my plans, and it's a one-man job. 
Even if I succeed, that would only 
remedy the matter temporarily. An- 
other ship is nearly ready to go, and 
I've just learned where it is. You've 
got to finish things up here. You've 
got to destroy that ship,and round 
up the fifth column on Venus. I've 
got a list and location of all the big 
shots here — " Brand tossed a note- 
book down on the desk "—and if 
you ever acted with a high hand, now 
is the time. Call in the Space Patrol 
fleet, and radio for the War Fleet. 
Declare war on Venus if they won't 
cooperate. But get those fellows and 
that second ship!" 

Orson picked up the notebook and 
stuffed it in his pocket. "I'll tear 
Venus apart," he said savagely. "I'll 
get every last one of them; and no 
other detonator ship will leave 
Venus, you can bank on that; But, 
Martin, what about Kathleen — and 

Martin Brand stared blankly at 
Orson. "Kathleen?" he asked. "What 
about her? And who's Coleridge?" 

"Yoa . . . don't know?" faltered 

A peculiar expression crossed 


Brand's face. "I don't know a thing," 
he said. "Out with it, man. What's 
on your mind?" 

"You mean you, a member of the 
fifth-column group, didn't know that 
we had another SS man in the group? 
His Vcnusian name is Forsythe . . 

Brand's face went pasty. "For- 
sythe . . he whispered. "Bid you 
say Forsythe?" 

Orson didn't answer. He saw in 
Brand's face that there was no need. 

"So that's what bothered me when 
I saw her walk away from me . . ." 
said Brand in stunned tones. "How- 
could I have failed to recognize the 
swing of those proud shoulders . . .?" 
His voice failed and he stood as 
though stricken with vocal paralysis. 

"Martin," said Orson. "What's 
wrong . . .?" 

Slowly Martin Brand drew in his 
breath, then he sighed in a great 
shuddering gust. His face took on 
a set of utter pain and despair. "She's 
. . . been executed," be said in almost 
unrecognizable tones. "Forsythe was 
detected by Lieutenant Farrow. Far- 
row knew all about him, and carried 
out a plan to trap Forsythe and the 
new operative he was bringing in. 
I never suspected who it was. I did- 
n't recognize her, even when I was 
picked to question her before the fake 
arrest you fellows pulled. She fooled 
me both ways — I thought she was 
just a Venusian trollop . . ." 

He whirled on Orson. "Why'd she 
come here?" he asked. "Nobody back 
on Earth would have sent her where 
I was. It would have been too dan- 
gerous to me, now that I was the 
key man here. How could she have 


"It was all her idea," said Orson 
hoarsely. "All along she kept in- 
sisting you weren't dead, and finally 
she made up her mind to find out. 
She told me she was going to open 
your coffin and find out if you were 
really there. There was no talking 
her out of it, so I did the next best 
thing; I went with her. Naturally 
your body wasn't in the coffin," 

"She figured Venus was the only 
place you could have gone, and that 
you were still working for the SS or 
you'd have contacted me or her. So, 
without telling me, she took her own 
private ship to Venus. 

"I went to Senator Beasley and 
made a clean breast of the whole 
matter — which was hardly necessary; 
they had both of us ticketed already, 
from our fingerprints in the tomb. 
It wound up with me going to Venus 
on this job, a fake story about your 
body being recovered, and my own 
execution so I could come here with- 
out suspicion. 

"That's the whole story . . Orson 
stopped speaking. 

Brand's face had become stony. 
"Kathy was always that way," he 
said emotionlessly. "She had three 
strikes against her the minute she 
fell in love with me. I'm death to 
everybody I come near, but this'll be 
the last time. This time it's 'suicide' 
Martin Brand lor sure — because 
that's what blowing up the detonator 
ship will be, for me. Without Kathy, 
I don't want to go any further . . ." 

He thrust out his hand and Orson 
took it wordlessly. "So long, Hal. 
Get those babies for me, will you? 



You can be sure 111 take care of my 
end of the job, Kathy never shirked 
her duty when she saw it. The least 
I can do is finish, her job off the way 
she would have." 

Orson swallowed hard as he said, 
"Goodbye, Martin. Don't worry 
about my end of it Venus will be 
scoured clean of these vermin within 
twenty-four hours, and if I can get 
hold of that fellow Farrow, 111 skin 
him inch by inch and layer by layer." 

"That's part of my job," said 
Brand. "He'll be on the big ship 
with me. Only thing I'll regret is 
dirtying up Space with his atoms. ** 

One long instant both men looked 
at each other levelly, then Brand 
spun on his heel and almost ran from 
the room. 

Hal Orson swore mightily and 
snatched up his desk phone. 

The ceaseless drip of water from 
the dark green leaves of the lush 
vegetation in the Venusian jungle 
formed a whispering background for 
the slosh-slosh of Kathleen's feet 
through the mud as she stumbled 
along ahead of Don Coleridge. Be- 
hind Coleridge came Farrow, his 
handsome face still sardonic and 
gloating. During the two hours he 
had urged them along the muddy 
trail, there had been no chance for 
escape. Farrow was as alert as a fox, 
and his finger was constantly on the 
trigger of his steam gun. 

Now his voice barked out. "Stop. 
This is where we get off." 

Kathleen halted, but did not turn 
around. She stood hopelessly, look- 
ing at the leafy jungle all around her. 

Coleridge, however, turned on Far- 
row heavily. 

"You'd better get me the first 
shot, Farrow," he said. "Because I'm 
going to kill you if you don't. Once 
these fingers wrap your neck, it'll 
take more than a steam gun to get 
me loose." 

Farrow laughed. "Heroics, eh?" 
he sneered, "Tell you what I'll do — 
I'll give you a fighting chance. I'll 
toss my other steam gun at your feet 
If you can pick it up and fire it be- 
fore you're dead, you might even hit 
me, who knows?" 

"You haven't that much sporting 
blood in you!" exploded Coleridge. 

"No?" asked Farrow. "Well, start 
jumping, friend. Here's the gun!" 
With a swift motion he drew his sec- 
ond steam, gun from its holster and 
tossed it toward Coleridge. He waited 
until Coleridge's fingers had closed 
on the gun. 

Coleridge stretched himself out full 
length in the mud. Like lightning he 
snatched the gun. Without trying 
to get up, he leveled it and pressed 
the trigger. Nothing happened! 

Farrow laughed contemptuously. 
"Only an Earthman would be idiot 
enough even to consider the possi- 
bility that anyone would risk his life 
on that sort of sporting deal." With 
a sneer he pressed the trigger of his 
steam gun and Coleridge shuddered 
once, then lay still. "\ 

Kathleen, who had faced the two 
when the conversation had begun, 
looked at Farrow calmly, repressing 
a shudder with every ounce of her 
self control. 



"Do you need to shoot me?" she 

Farrow lifted his eyebrows, "That's 
an odd question," he said, "Why do 
you put it that way?" 

"Because maybe you've made a 

"I never make mistakes." 

"You've ascertained positively that 
I was working with him?" she asked. 

He looked at her a moment. "I see 
what you mean. Well, does it make 
any difference?" 

"Not any more," she said bitterly. 
"It might have, back at the cafe 
Venus de Milo." 

"Just what difference might it have 
made?" There was a slight frown on 
his face. 

She shrugged. "I was watching 
yeu . . ." She let her voice trail off. 

Farrow stared at her thoughtfully 
for a moment "That's true," he said, 
a peculiar light in his eyes. "You 
were looking at me a great deal." He 
was still an instant longer, then he 
said bluntly. "W T hy?" 

She loolied at the ground and an- 
swered, "Why does a woman look at 
a man?" 

"Maybe in this case because she 
was a spy," he suggested. . 

"That's why I said it didn't make 
any difference now," she said. "Go 
ahead; get it over with. I can see 
you'll follow your orders regardless 

His jaw tightened a bit and a flush 
of anger began to creep up from his 
neck. "I'm not exactly the flunky 
you think I am," he snapped. "I 
don't follow orders, I give them.** 

Kathleen felt a slow surge of hope 

rise wiihin her. "In this case you are 
following them," she said. "Your 
boss, the Martian, ordered you to kill 
me. Neither he nor you know whether 
I'm a spy or not, but that seems to 
make no difference, Coleridge butted 
into my life, and now I'm going to 
pay for it . , ." She looked at the 
body on the ground and her eyes 
blazed for a moment, then they dulled 
again and the hopeless tone crept 
back into her voice, "Besides, it's 
too late . . ." 

Farrow began walking slowly to- 
ward her, a strange light in his eyes. 
His gaze was devouring her figure, 
appraising her again and again. He 
jammed the steam gun into her 
stomach and held it there, his finger 
on the trigger. 

"Nobody's giving me orders," he 
said. "I do things because I want to, 
and when I want to do a thing, I do 
it. That fat Martian back there 
means nothing to me— except that my 
position now assures me of at least a 
governorship back on Earth when we 
take over — and that'll be very soon 
now. As a matter of fact, I'll be one 
of the few top Venusians on Earth. 
Not even the old Earth Romans will 
be able to hold a candle to the spot 
I'll be in." 

"If you're trying to torture me, you 
can forget about it," she blazed at 
him. "What difference does it make 
to me whether your position on Earth 
is better than an Emperor's? Go 
ahead and kill me. Follow out your 
orders and get it over with." 

"I don't follow orders," he repeat- 
ed. "I give them." He pressed the 
gun more firmly against her and 



moved closer. "For instance, kiss 

She looked up at him. She tossed 
her hair back with a defiant gesture. 
"Why not?" she said. "I was think- 
ing of it back at the Venus de Milo 
— when it might have meant some- 
thing . . ." 

She flung her arms around his neck 
and placed her Hps against his. She 
kissed him passionately once, then 
dropped her arms and looked down. 
Her face flushed, and she held her 
breath tightly to make it grow even 
more so. "Now go ahead and kill me," 
she said. 

For reply he laughed. "I'm giving 
the orders, not you. Here, help me 
toss this body into the quicksand." 
He sheathed his gun and waited. 

Kathleen looked at him, then look- 
ed at the crumpled body of Don 
Coleridge. "It'll be a pleasure," she 

When they had dragged the body 
off the trail and shoved it into the 
quicksand bog just beyond its edge, 
they stood watching the body sink 
slowly out of sight. Fanow looked 
at Kathleen a long moment. 

"One thing I'm sure of," he said. 

"What's that?" 

''You aren't a spy, but you are my 
kind of woman." 

"I don't know how you're going to 
manage it," she said, "but if you do, 
you won't regret it." 

He licked his lips. "I'll manage it," 
he said, "and come to think of it, 
you will make a lovely Empress!" 

The ponderous power of the giant, 
atom-propelled Martian warship 

shoved her through the void like a 
giant fist, aimed directly at the Earth. 
Behind lay Venus, a giant white ball 
in space, already several million miles 

Martin Brand stared back at it 
through the portholes of the belly 
deck and shook his head. He bit his 
lip savagely and turned away from 
the white planet almost angrily. His 
face was grim and drawn. With an 
effort he thrust down the vision of 
a proud Irish face surrounded by a 
cloud of turbulent red hair, and 
curiously superimposed over it the 
slant eyes and pale green complexion 
of a Venusian girl. 

"She did her job," he whispered. 
"Now it's up to me to do mine." 

He made his way slowly toward 
midship and finally came to the bomb 
section. Here, on networks of steel 
rails, rested the atomic bomb arma- 
ment of the ship, ready to be launch- 
ed in rocket warheads. There were 
hundreds of them here, capable of dev- 
astating the cities of a whole planet, 
once they could be launched from a 
range where accurate aim was pos- 
sible. These would be the bombs 
with which this and other, but smaller 
Martian ships would finish up opera- 
tions on remaining Earth centers of 
resistance, once the giant detonator 
generators located in the bow of the 
ship sent out the fatal impulse that 
would make raging atomic infernos 
of hundreds of strategic areas on 

When that impulse went out, the 
death blow to Earth's resistance would 
have been dealt. No matter how many 
Martian battleships, converging on 



Earth after the big blast, were de- 
stroyed by Earth's mighty space 
navy, it would be meaningless, with 
no further bases of supply for that 
navy. Once out of fuel, they would 
be drifting hulks at the mercy of the 
enemy. And Mars, right now, was 
on the other side of the sun, too far 
away for successful counter-attack. 

Brand looked at the atomic arse- 
nal before him, gazed calculatingly at 
the bomb bays through which the 
rockets would dart when launched — 
and nodded grimly. Before him rose 
the vision of a battleship almost as 
big as this one, inside the Black Hole 
on Luna. Once more he heard Estelle 
Carter's voice ringing in its madness 
in his ears as he crept closer to the 
belly of her ship. He lived again the 
gigantic flash that marked the deto- 
nation of her bombs, exploded by his 
atomic barrage from the lone rifle in 
his stolen cruiser. These big ships 
were amazingly vulnerable, provided 
they could be approached. Out in 
space this was impossible, but in the 
Black Hole it had been easy— just 
as it would be comparatively easy to 
do it here. He would merely launch 
himself into space in the auxiliary 
cruiser, and fire instantly he cleared 
the ship and could bring the bomb 
bays into line. He would have at 
most a minute or two, before the au- 
tomatic radar-operated guns would 
blow his cruiser to bits. 

Either way, it was the end for Mai- 
tin Brand. He didn't intend to take 
any chances on being hit before he 
could explode those bombs. Given 
three minutes, he might stand a 
chance to get away, but he didnt in- 

tend to take those three minutes. 

Carefully he considered his chances. 
On this giant battleship were less 
than fifty men. Almost all of the 
great ship was robot-controlled. In 
space warfare, little was risked in 
the way of manpower. Also, in auto- 
matic operation there was almost no 
chance of such failure as might occur 
from the human element. According- 
ly, Brand could make his way about 
the giant ship with little chance of 
meeting another of the crew. Since 
the take-off, he had observed care- 
fully just what and where each man's 
duties were. He was satisfied that he 
knew the time schedule of every man 
in this section of the ship. 

He glanced at bis watch. In one 
hour he would make the attempt. 

As he thought of it, he felt cold, 

"All right, you can come out now. M 
Farrow released the catch on the 
ventilated container and Hfted the 
cover. With one hand he helped 
Kathleen clamber out of her hiding 
place in the storage hold of the ship. 
Then he stepped back and stared at 
her as she straightened her rumpled 
clothes and brushed out her hair as 
best she could with her fingers. 

"You look beautiful even m the 
morning," he observed. **If you look 
that good coming out of a packing 
box, you really ought to be a sensa- 
tion coming out of swan's down and 

"Where are we?" asked Kathleen, 
advancing toward him and nestling 
against his shoulder. 

"Out in space.*' 

"I know that/' she pouted. She sBd 



her arms around his neck and kissed 

He pushed her away. "I'd better 
answer your question first," he said. 
"That is, if you're really interested." 

She shrugged. "It doesn't make 
much difference. But I would like to 
know how long I'm going to be 
cooped up here." 

"We'll be landing on Luna, which 
will be surrendered to us just as soon 
as they realize what's happened to 
Earth, En about two Earth days. And 
when we land, you'll come off this 
ship like you came on — in that box. 
Once you're off, you'll be a free 
woman, and I'll pick you up when 
I've finished my work. After that 

"Your assignment to an Earth 
area as governorl" she exclaimed. 
"What area do you think you'll get?" 

"I've expressed a preference for 
the United States area," he said. 
"And, quite frankly, they could hard- 
ly give me less. I rank second only 
to Captain Lutain." 

"Who's he?" asked Kathleen petu- 
lantly. "Why should you rank second 
to anybody?" 

Farrow reached out and pulled her 
to him. "Maybe you've got something 
there," he said admiringly. "Why 
should I? I think something may be 
done about that, but don't worry 
about it. Right now, how about con 
tinuing that kiss where you left off? 
We've got about an hour before I've 
got to be back at my station." 

"Nobody will bother us here?" 

He grinned. "Nobody." 

Kathleen glanced around the stor- 
age hold. "Isn't there anything to 

drink in this place?" she complained. 
"Ought to be something here . . ." 

Farrow lifted his eyebrows. "Say, 
baby, maybe there is at that. As a 
matter of fact, the Martian has a 
stock of the best brought along with 
him wherever he goes. Maybe it's 

He walked up and down the stor- 
age racks, and finally exclaimed in 
pleasure. "Here it is! " He ripped 
open a carton and produced a bottle. 
Kathleen came to his side, took it and 
kissed him. "Better take another 
one," she suggested, "we might need 

As Farrow turned to get another 
bottle, she raised her own above his 
head and brought it down with all 
her might. Without a sound Lieu- 
tenant Farrow slid to the floor. 

Working swiftly, Kathleen tore his 
clothes into strips and bound him 
tightly. When she had finished, she 
surveyed her work with satisfaction. 
He would not escape from those 
bonds unless somebody released him. 
They had been applied with true SS 

Picking up Farrow's two steam 
guns, Kathleen turned and made her 
way toward the door of the storage 

Martin Brand made a final in- 
strument adjustment in the elec- 
tronics' systems room,>which was in 
his charge. He hoped that the slight 
reduction in power output he had 
made would slow up the action of the 
radar-operated guns. This would give 
him perhaps three or four minutes 
more of valuable time, in case he 



encountered difficulty in lining up his 
guns with the bomb bay openings. On 
this heavily armored ship, a hit on 
the outer hull would be worse than 
useless with such a small rifle. Only 
a direct hit on the bombs would do 
the trick, 

Now, his lips pressed tightly to- 
gether, Brand made his way down 
decks toward the launching level for 
the tiny cruisers the battleship car- 
ried. In a few more minutes he would 
step into one of them, press the but- 
ton that set the launching mechanism 
into operation, and would be hurled 
into space. Once he was out, a quick 
burst of the rockets, and a speedy 
dive and loop ought to bring him up 
with his bow gun pointing directly at 
his target. He knew he would get 
time for only one pass at the bomb 
bays, or at the outside, one more 
desperate loop at six gravities. He 
hoped he could hold his senses long 
enough, in that event, to press the 
firing lever at the proper instant. 

"Ill get 'em the first time! M he 

He made his way without incident 
past the two operations decks. On 
deck three he almost ran into a 
Venusian. He saluted sharply and 
went on. The man also saluted and 
went on his way. 

He reached the launching deck 
without seeing anyone else. Quickly 
he approached the bulkhead door be- 
yond which the cruisers lay. As he 
neared it, there came a hoarse shout 
down the long corridor that led to the 
storage deck. There came the bright 
flash of a steam gun and a horrid 
scream of a man in agony. Two more 

bright flashes illuminated the corri- 
dor, and then came the sound of 
running feet. 

Brand raced desperately for the 
bulkhead door. He had to get through 
it and get it closed before those run- 
ning feet, whatever they meant, 
came into sight. He cursed the luck 
that had caused such an unexpected 
commotion. He had no time to won- 
der what it was, but steam gun in 
hand he was racing directly toward 
those bright flashes. 

All at once a racing figure burled 
itself into view at the far end of the 
corridor. Suddenly it slid to a halt, 
dropped to one knee, and leveled a 
steam gun. Unable to halt his head- 
long dash in time to aim his own 
weapon, Brand dove for the floor. 

A sizzling white beam crackled over 
his prostrate body, and hot metal 
flew from the wall just behind him. 
Instantly Brand was on his knees, 
aiming his steam gun at the figure 
down the corridor. The newcomer 
was now erect, taking careful aim at 
him. Brand's eyes widened and he 
dropped his gun in stark astonish- 

" Kathleen !" he bellowed, and 
again hurled his body away from her 
bolt. Once more she missed and he 
yelled again. "Kathyl Kathyl It's 
me — Martin Brand! Don't shoot!" 

The figure down the corridor stood 
stock still for an instant, then slump- 
ed to the floor. 

Brand leaped to his feet and raced 
to her side. With one single motion 
he swept her into his arms and raced 
back to the bulkhead door leading to 
the cruisers. He kicked it open, leaped 



through, and laid Kathleen down on 
the floor. He shut the door, bolted it 
securely, and then picked Kathleen 
up again. He carried her to the near- 
est cruiser, locked in its launching 
ways, and thrust her inside. In an 
instant he had released the locking 
mechanism and clambered inside 

It took only a few seconds to thrust 
Kathleen into a shock seat and strap 
her in. Then he raced for the pilot 

He ignored the straps, using only 
the support bar to hold him fast. 
Frantically he pressed the starting 
button, and as soon as the force of the 
launching acceleration told him the 
ship was moving toward the exit port, 
which was opening slowly, he jabbed 
the rocket lever forward. 

Red flame filled the cruiser com- 
partment, and the ship leaped for- 
ward like a live thing. It roared out 
of the exit port before it was even 
wholly opened, and Brand reeled 
under a savage shock as the ship 
smashed the doors outward. But he 
exulted, because if he failed at his 
first pass it would be impossible to 
open the bulkhead door. There'd be 
no firing at him from the other ships 
in their cradles. 

He hurled the ship into a steep 
dive, and brought it up tightly in an 
inside loop. Streaks of white filled 
the blackness of space. They were 
the stars passing before his eyes in 
dizzy passage. The battleship was 
nowhere in sight, and he strained his 
eyes to pick it up as he continued 
around the killing loop. Blackness 
threatened to sweep over his vision 

before it suddenly loomed over him. 
Then, all at once, he was bearing di- 
rectly for it, and there in the fore- 
part of the hull were the black open- 
ings of the rocket-bomb bays. 

Brand pressed the firing studs of 
the cruiser's bow atomic rifles, and 
locked them into position. For an 
agonizing three seconds he bore 
straight for the openings, then he 
looped over again, at maximum speed. 
The blackness before his eyes swept 
over bim like a tide, but all at once 
it seemed to recede for an instant 
under an intolerable brilliance. Then 
it surged up again and this time over- 
whelmed him. As it did so, his leaden 
hand pulled the steering lever into 
neutral . . . 

The taste in his mouth was salty 
and he wondered vaguely why. Then 
he realized his nose was bleeding pro- 
fusely. All at once someone swabbed 
at his face with a large piece of cot- 

"Sissy!" he heard a voice say. 

He kept his eyes closed, trying to 
remember something. Then it came 
to him, slowly, like a movie in slow 
motion . . . Kathy's face, racing to- 
ward him; white bolts of her steam 
gun darting at him; whirling action; 
her body heavy in his arms; the roar 
of the cruiser rockets; red flame; 
black space; spinning stars; an ugly, 
growing black tide oyer his eyes; a 
brilliant white flash; blackness, into 
which her face grew above him . . . 
He realized that he was opening his 
eyes. Her face remained before him 
... a Venusian face, slant-eyed, tear- 
streaked, nose bloody. 


"It's a new face," he said. "It fool- 
ed me, but I should have known that 
walk . , ." 

"So that's what you were looking 

He nodded. "You won't ever be 
able to hide that gait," he grinned. 
"It's as Irish as the Sweepstakes." 

"You fooled me too. How I failed 
to recognize the uppity self-pity of 
Martin Brandy though, I'll never 
know ..." 

"It's not pity," he retorted, strug- 
gling erect to discover himself on the 
floor beside the pilot seat of the 
cruiser. "You women seem to have a 
penchant for showing a man the flat 
of your back." 

"You're not looking at my back 

He looked at her a long moment. 
"And I'm never going to/' he said, 
"but where are we? What happened?" 

"You blew the battleship up, just 
like you did the Martian fleet inside 
the Black Hole." 

"So you admit, finally, that I did 
blow it up?" he demanded. "But let 
me at that radio — we've got to get a 
pickup before we get clean out of 
the solar system . . ." 

She pushed him back firmly. "No 
you don't! I've tried to get you 
where I've got you for eleven years, 
and now that we're alone with no 
chance of being interrupted, I'm not 

going to let you radio to anybody. We 
don't need any help. I've got this 
ship pointed in an orbit that will 
bring us to Earth's atmosphere in 
about forty-eight hours." 

"Forty-eight hours? How far are 
we from Earth?" 

"About three thousand miles." 

"But that's only two hours away," 
he said, struggling once more to get 
up. She pushed him back again. 

"Martin Brand, that may be your 
idea of how to travel, but it's going 
to take forty-eight hours if I have 
to back this ship up to do it And 
besides . . ." 

"Besides what?" 

"If you don't wipe that blood off 
your face, I'm going to kiss you any- 

He looked up at her and grinned. 
"Go ahead," he said. "And while 
you're doing that, I'll try to imagine 
that's green lipstick on your face — 
sissy I" 

A minute later he pulled away fran- 
tically, gasping. "I've got to breathe 1" 
he panted. "How many G's do you 
think a guy can take . . .?" 

"Ill tell you— forty-eight hours 
from now," she said sweetly. "Draw 
a deep breath — here I come again." 

Outside the portholes, the green 
earth rotated slowly beneath the 
drifting ship. 


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«r)ID you hear about it?" 

u "About what?" 

"The niggers, the niggers I" 

"What about 'em?" 

"Their leaving — pulling out- 
ing away; did you hear?" 

"What you mean, 'pulling 

how can they do that?" 

"They not only can, b> 
and are." 

"Just a couple?" 
-go- "Allot themt" 

ouV "Yesl" 

Btmirttte* by Jo* Win Tithuom 



Slowly the block river moved past, on inexorable 
tide, bound for a strange, unbelievable rendezvous 
with a fleet of spaceships that was coming to take 
them to the promised land, to a land in the sky . . . 



Slowly the black river moved past, on Inexorable 
tide, bound for a strange, unbelievable rendezvous 
with a fleet of spaceships that was coming to take 
them to the promised land, to a land in the sky . . . 



"I got to see that. I don't believe 
it. Where they going— Africa?" 
A silence. 

"You mean the planet Mars?" 
"That's right." 

The men stood up in the hot shade 
of the hardware porch. Some one 
quit lighting a pipe. Somebody else 
spat out into the hot dust of noon. 

"They can't leave, they can't do 

"They're doing it, anyways." 

"Where'd you hear this?" 

"It's everywhere, on the radio a 
minute ago, just come through." 

Like a series of dusty statues, the 
men came to life. 

Samuel Teece, the hardware pro- 
prietor, laughed uneasily. "I won- 
dered what happened to 'Silly,' I 
sent him on my bike an hour ago, 
and he ain't come back from Mrs. 
Bordman's yet. You think that black 
fool just pedaled off to Mars?" 

The men snorted. 

"All I say is he better bring back 
my bike. I don't take stealing from 
no one, by God." 

"Listen 1 " 

Far up the street the levee seemed 
to have broken, and the black, warm 
waters descended and engulfed the 
town. Between tb.e blazing white 
banks of the town stores, among the 
silence of trees and men, a black tide 
flowed. Like a kind of summer mo- 
lasses, it poured turgidly forth upon 
the cinnamon-colored dusty road. It 
surged slowly, slowly, and it was men, 
women, horses and barking dogs, and 
it was little boys and girls. From the 
mouths of the people drifting in this 

tide came the sound of a river, a 
summer-day river going somewhere, 
murmuring and irrevocable. In that 
slow steady channel of darkness that 
cut across the white glare of day, 
were touches of alert white, the eyes, 
the ivory eyes staring ahead, glancing 
aside, as the river, the long and end- 
less river, took itself from old chan- 
nels into new ones. From various 
and uncountable tributaries, in creeks 
and brooks of color and motion, the 
parts of this river had joined, become 
one mother current, and flowed on. 
Brimming the swell were things car- 
ried by the river — Grandfather clocks 
chiming, kitchen clocks ticking, caged 
hens screaming, and babies wailing. 
Swimming among the thickened ed- 
dies were mules and cats, and sudden 
excursions of burst mattress springs 
floating by with hair stuffing sticking 
out of them. There were boxes and 
crates and pictures of dark Grand- 
fathers in oak frames — the river 
flowed on while the men sat like 
nervous hounds on the hardware 
porch, their hands empty and it was 
too late for them to mend the levee. 

Samuel Teece wouldn't believe it. 
"Why, hell, where'd they get the 
transportation, how they goin' to get 
to Mars?" 

"Rockets," said Grandpa Quarter- 

"Of all the damn fool — rockets 
ain't ready for that yet." 
"Yes they are." 

"Be another ten years before 
rockets can go even to the Moon — " 
"These are ready." 
"I never heard about it." 



"Seems these niggers kept it secret, 
worked on the rockets all themselves, 
don't know where, in Africa I 

"Could they do that?" demanded 
Samuel Teece, pacing about the 
porch. "Ain't there a law?" 

"It ain't as if they're declarin' 
war," said Grandpa quietly. 

"Where do they get off, god damn 
it, working' in secret, plottin'?" 
shouted Teece. 

"Schedule is for all this town's 
niggers to gather out by Loon Lake. 
Rockets be there at one o'clock, pick 
'em up, take 'eni to Mars." 

"Telephone the governor, call out 
the militia," cried Teece. "They 
shoulda given notice!" 

"Here comes your woman, Sam." 

Tile men turned again. 

As they watched, down the hot 
road in the windless light, first one 
white woman and then another ar- 
rived, all of them with stunned faces. 
Some of them were crying, some were 
stern. All came to find their hus- 
bands. They pushed through bar- 
room swinging doors, vanishing. They 
entered cool, quiet grocery stores. 
They went in drug stores and garages. 
One of them, Mrs. Clara Teece, came 
. to stand in the dust by the hardware 
porch, blinking up at her stiff and 
angry husband as the black river 
flowed behind her. 

"It's Lucinda, Pa, you got to come 
home I" 

"I'm not comin' home for no damn 

"She's leaving, whatH I do with- 
out her?" 
"Fetch for yourself, maybe. I 

won't get down on my knees (o stop 
her." * 

"But she's like a family member!" 

"Don't shout! I won't have you 
bhibberin' in public this way about 
no god damn — " 

His wife's small sob stopped him. 
She dabbed at her eyes. "I kept 
tolling her, Lucinda, I said, 'you stay 
on and T raise your pay, and you get 
two nights off a week, if you want,' 
but she just looked set! I never seen 
her so set, and I said, 'Don't you 
love me, Lucinda,' and she said 'yes,' 
but she had to go because that's the 
way it was is all. She cleaned the 
house, dusted it, put luncheon on the 
table, and then she went to the parlor 
door, and stood there with two bun- 
dles, one by each foot, and shook my 
hand and said, 'Goodbye Mrs. Teece,' 
Then she went out the door. There 
was her luncheon on the table, and 
all of us too upset to even eat it." 

Teece almost struck her. "God 
damn it, Mrs. Teece, you get the hell 
home. Standin' there, makin' a sight 
of yourself I" 

"But, Pa—" 

He strode away into the hot dim- 
ness of the store, but came back out 
a few seconds later with a silver pistol 
in his hand. 

His wife was gone. 

The river flowed black between the 
buildings, with a rustle and a creak 
and a constant whispering shuffle. It 
was a very quiet thing, with a great 
certainty to it; no laughter, no wild- 
ness, just a steady, decided, and 
ceaseless flow. 

Teece sat on the edge of his hard 



wood chair. "If one of 'em so much 
as laughs, by Christ, I'll kill 'em.** 
The men waited. 

The river passed quietly in the 
dreamful noon. 

"Looks like you goin' to have to 
hoe your own turnips, Sam," Grand- 
pa chuckled. 

"I'm not bad at shootin* white 
folks neither." Teece didn't look at 
Grandpa. Grandpa turned his head 
away and shut up his mouth. 

"Hold on there 1" Samuel Teece 
leaped off the porch. He reached up 
and seized the reins of a horse ridden 
by a tall negro man. "You, Belter, 
come down off there!" 

"Yes, sir." Belter slid down. 

Teece looked him over. "Now, just 
what you think you're doin'?" 

"Well, Mr. Teece—" 

"I reckon you think you're goin', 
just like that song — what's the 
words? Way up in the middle of the 
air; ain't that it?" 

"Yes, sir." The negro waited on 

"You recollect you owe me fifty 
dollars, Belter?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"You tryin' to sneak out? By 
God, I'll horsewhip you!" 

"All the excitement, and it slipped 
my mind, sir." 

"It slipped his mind." Teece gave 
a vicious wink at his men on the 
hardware porch. "God damn, Belter, 
yon know what you're goin' to do?" 

"No, sir." 

"You're stayin' here to work out 
that 6fty bucks, or my name ain't 
Samuel W. Teece." He turned again 

to smile confidently a* the men in 
the shade. 

Belter looked at the river going 
along the street, that dark river flow- 
ing and flowing between the shops, 
the dark river on wheels and horses 
and in dusty shoes, the dark river 
from which he had been snatched on 
his journey. He began to shiver. "Let 
me go, Mister Teece. Ill send your 
money from up there, I promise I " 

"Listen, Belter." Teece grasped 
the man's suspenders like two harp- 
strings, playing them now and again 
contemptuously, snorted at the sky, 
and pointed one bony finger straight 
at God. "Belter, you know anything 
about what's up there?" 

"What they tells me." 

"What they tells him! Christ! 
Hear that? What they tells him I" 
He swung the man's weight by his 
suspenders, idly, flicking a finger in 
the black face. "Belter, you fly up 
and up like a July Fourth rocket and 
Bangl There you are, cinders, spread 
all over space. Them crackpot sci- 
entists, they don't know nothin', 
they'll kill you all off!" 

"I don't care." 

"Glad to hear that, because you 
know what's up on that planet Mars? 
There's monsters with big raw eyes 
like mushroomsl You seen them pic- 
tures on those other world magazines 
you buy at the drug store, ain't you?. 
Weill The monsters jump up and 
suck marrow from your bonesl" 

"I don't care, don't care at all, 
don't care." Belter watched the pa- 
rade slide by, leaving him. Sweat 
lay on his dark brow and he seemed 
about to collapse. 



"And it's cold up there— no air, 
yon fall down, jerk like a fish, gaspin', 
dyin', strangling stranglin' and dyin', 
you like that?" 

"Lots of things I don't like, sir. 
Please, sir, let me go. I'm late." 

"Ill let you go when I'm ready 
to let you go. We'll just talk here 
polite until I say you can leave, and 
you know it damn well. You want to 
travel, do you? Well, 'Mister Way Up 
In The Middle of The Air,' you get 
the hell home and work out that fifty 
bucks you owe me! Take you two 
months to do that!" 

"But if I work It out, I'U miss the 
rocket, sirl" 

"Ain't that a shame now?" Teece 
tried to look sad. 

"I give you my horse, sir." 

"Horse ain't legal tender. You 
don't move until I get my money." 
Teece laughed inside. He felt very 
warm and good. 

A small crowd of dark people had 
gathered to hear all this. Now as 
Belter stood, head down, trembling, 
an old man stepped forward. 


Teece flashed him a quick look. 

"How much this man owe you, 

"None of your damn business!" 

The old man looked at Belter. 
"How much, son?" 

"Fifty dollars." 

The old man put out his black 
hands at the people around him. 
"There's twenty-five of you. Each 
give two dollars, quick now, this is 
no tune for argument." 

"Here, now!" cried Teece, stiffen- 
ing up tall. 

The money appeared. The old man 
fingered it into his hat and gave the 
hat to Belter. "Son," he said, "you 
ain't missin' no rocket." 

Belter smiled into the hat. "No 
sir, I guess I ain't!" 

Teece shouted. "You give that 
money back to them!" 

Belter bowed respectfully, handing 
the money over, and when Teece 
would not touch it he set it down in 
the dust at Teece's feet. "There's 
your money, sir," he said. "Thank 
you kindly." Smiling, he gained the 
saddle of his horse and whipped his 
horse along, thanking the old man 
who rode with him now until they 
were out of sight and hearing. 

"Son of a bitch," whispered Teece. 
staring blindly at the sun. "Son of 
a bitch." 

"Pick up the money, Samuel," 
said someone from the porch. 

It was happening all along the 
way. Little white boys, barefoot, 
dashed up with the news. "Them 
that has helps them that hasn't and 
that way they all get free! Seen a 
rich man give a poor man two hun- 
dred bucks to pay off some'un! Seen 
some'un else give some'un else ten 
bucks, five bucks, sixteen, lots of 
that, all over, everybody!" 

The white men sat with sour water 
in their mouths. Their ayes were al- 
most puffed shut, as if they had been 
struck in their faces by wind and sand 
»nd heat. 

The rage was in Samuel Teece. He 
climbed up on the porch and glared 
at the passing swarms. He waved his 



gun. After awhile when he had to do 
something, he began to shout at any- 
one, any Negro who looked up at 
him. "Bang! There's another rocket 
out in space!" He shouted so all 
could hear. "BangI By God! 1 ' The 
dark heads didn't flicker or pretend 
to hear, but their white eyes slid 
swiftly over and back. "Crash! All 
them rockets fallin'! Screamin', dy- 
in'l Bang! God All Mighty, I'm glad 
Fm right here on old terra firroa. As 
they says in that old joke, the more 
firma, the less terra! Ha, ha!" 

Horses clopped along, shuffling up 
dust. Wagons bumbled on ruined 

"Bang!" His voice was lonely in 
the heat, trying to terrify the dust 
and the blazing sun sky. "Wham! 
Niggers all over space 1 Jerked outa 
rockets like so many minnows, hit 
by a meteor, by God! Space fulla 
meteors. You know that? Surel Thick 
as buckshot; powie! Shoot down 
them tin can rockets like so many 
ducks, so many clay pipes! Ole sar- 
dine cans full of black codl Bangui' 
like a stringa ladyfingers, bang, bang, 
bang! Ten thousand dead here, ten 
thousand there. Floatin' in space, 
around and around earth, ever and 
ever, cold and way out, Lord! You 
hear that, you there!" 

Silence reigned. The river was 
broad and continuous. It had entered 
all cotton shacks during the hour, 
flooded all the valuables out, and it 
was now carrying the clocks, wash- 
boards, the silk bolts and curtain rods 
on down to some distant black sea. 

High tide passed — It was two 
o'clock— Low tide came. Soon the 

river was dried up, the town silent, 
and the dust settled in a film on the 
stores, the seated men, and the tall 
hot trees. 

The men on the porch listened. 

Hearing nothing, they extended 
their thoughts and their imaginations 
far out into the surrounding mea- 
dows. In the early morning the land 
had been filled with its usual concoc- 
tions of sound. Here and there, with 
stubborn persistence to custom, there 
had been voices singing, honey laugh- 
ter under the mimosa branches, pick- 
aninnies rushing in laughter to the 
creek, movements in the fields, jokes 
and shouts of amusement from the 
shingle shacks covered with fresh 
green vines. 

Now it was as if a great wind had 
washed the land clean of sounds. 
Skeleton doors hung open on leather 
hinges. Rubber tire swings hung in 
the silent air, uninhabited. The wash- 
ing rocks at the river were empty, 
and the watermelon patches, if any, 
were left alone to heat their hidden 
liquors in the sun. Spiders started 
building new webs in abandoned huts, 
dust started to sift in from unpatched 
roofs in golden specules. Here and 
there, a fire forgotten in the last rush, 
lingered and in a sudden access of 
strength, fed upon the dry bones of 
some littered shack. The sound of a 
gentle feeding burn went up through 
the silenced air. 

The men sat on the hardware 
porch, not blinking or swallowing. 

"I can't figure why they left now, 
with things lookin' up. I mean, every 



day they got more rights. What they 
want, anyway? Here's the poll tax 
gone, and more and more states anti- 
lynching bills passing and all kinds of 
equal rights, what more they want? 
They make almost as good money as 
a white man, but there they go." 

Far down the empty street a bicy- 
cle came. 

"I'll be god damned, Teece, here 
comes your 'Silly' now." 

The bicycle pulled up before the 
porch, a seventeen year old colored 
boy on it, all arms and feet and long 
legs, and round watermelon head. He 
looked up at Samuel Teece and 

"So you got a guilty conscience 
and came back," said Teece. 

"No, sir, I just brought the bicy- 

"What's wrong, couldn't get it on 
the rocket?" 

"That wasn't it, sir." 

"Don't tell me what it was I Get 
off, you're not goin' to steal my 
property 1" He gave the boy a push 
and the bicycle fell. "Get inside and 
start cleaning the brass." 

"Beg pardon?" The boy's eyes 

"You heard what I said. There's 
guns need unpacking there, and a 
crate of nails just come from 
Natchez — " 


"And a box of hammers need fix- 
in'— " 

"Mr. Teece, sir?" 

"You still standin' there!" Teec* 

"Mister Teece, you don't mind, I 

take the day off," he said, apolo- 

"And tomorrow and day after to- 
morrow and the day after the day 
after that," said Teece. 

"I'm afraid so, sir." 

"You should be afraid, boy. Come 
here." He marched the boy across 
the porch and drew a paper out of a 
desk. "Remember this?" 


"It's your workin' paper, you 
signed it, there's your x right there, 
ain't it? Answer me!" 

"I didn't sign that, Mister Teece." 
The boy trembled. "Any one can 
make an x." 

"Listen to this, 'Silly.' Contract: 
I will work for Mr. Samuel Teece two 
years, starting July IS, 1962, and if 
intending to leave will give four 
weeks notice and continue working 
until my position is filled. There." 
Teece slapped the paper, his eyes glit- 
tering. "You cause trouble, we'll take 
it to court." 

"I can't do that," wailed the boy, 
tears starting to roll down his face. 
"If I don't go today, I don't go." 

"I know just how you feel, 'Silly,' 
yes, sir, I sympathize with you, boy. 
But well treat you good and give you 
good food, boy, now you just get in- 
side and start working and forget all 
about that nonsense, eh, 'Silly'? 
Sure." Teece grinned and patted the 
boy's shoulder. 

The boy turned and looked at the 
old men sitting on the porch. He 
could hardly see now for his tears. 
"Maybe, maybe one oi these gentle- 
men here — " The men looked up in 
the hot, uneasy shadows, looking first 



at the boy and then at Teece. 

"You meanin' to say you think a 
white man should take your place, 
boy?" asked Teece, coldly. 

Grandpa Quartermain took his red 
hands off his knees. He looked out 
at the horizon thoughtfully and said, 
"Teece, what about me?" 


"HI take 'Silly's' job." 

The porch was silent. 

Teece balanced himself in the air. 
"Grandpa," he said, warningly. 

"Let the boy go. I'll clean the 

"Would you, would you, really?" 
'Silly' ran over to Grandpa, laughing, 
tears on his cheeks, unbelieving. 


"Grandpa," said Teece. "Keep 
your damn trap outa this!" 

"Give the kid a break, Teece." 

Teece walked over and- seized the 
boy's arm. "He's mine. I'm lockin' 
him in the back room until tonight." 

"Don't, Mr. Teece!" 

The boy began to sob now. His 
crying fdled the air of the porch. His 
eyes were tight. Far down the street, 
an old tin Ford was choking along 
with a last load of colored people in 
it. "Here comes my family, Mr. 
Teece, oh, please, please, oh God, 
please I" 

"Teece," said one of the other men 
on the porch, getting up, "let him 

Another man rose also. "That goes 
for me, too." 

"And me," said another. 
"What's the use?" The men all 
] talked now. "Cut it out, Teece." 

"Let him go." 

Teece felt for his gun in his pocket. 
He saw the men's faces, took his hand 
away, and left the gun in his pocket 
and said, "So that's how it is?" 

"That's how it is," someone said. 

Teece let the boy go. "All right. 
Get out!" He jerked his hand back 
in the store. "But I hope you don't 
think you're gonna leave any trash 
behind to clutter my store." 

"No, sir!" 

"You clean everything outa your 
shed in back; burn it." 

'Silly 1 shook his head. "I'll take 
it with." 

"They won't let you put it on that 
damn rocket." 

"I'll take it with," insisted the boy, 

He rushed back through the hard- 
ware store. There were sounds of 
sweeping and cleaning out and a mo- 
ment later be appeared, his hands full 
of tops and marbles and old dusty 
kites and junk collected through the 
years. Just then the old tin Ford 
drove up and 'Silly' climbed in and 
the door slammed. Teece stood on 
the porch with a bitter smile on his 
face. "What you goin' to do up 

"Startin' new," said 'Silly.' "Gon- 
na have my own hardware." 

"God damn it, you been learnin' 
my trade so you could run off and 
use it!" 

"No, sir, I never thought one day 
this'd happen, sir, but it did. I can't 
help if I learned, Mister Teece." 

"I suppose you got names for your 

They looked at their one clock on 



the dashboard of the cat. 
"Yes, sir." 

"Like Elijah and the Chariot, The 
Big Wheel and The Little Wheel, 
Faith, Hope and Charity, eh?" 

"We got names for the ships, Mis- 
ter Teece." 

"God the Son and the Holy Ghost, 
I wouldn't wonder? Say, boy, you 
got one named the First Baptist 

"We got to leave now, Mister 

Teece laughed. "Yon got one 
named Swing Low, and another 
named Sweet Chariot?" 

The car started up. "Goodbye, 
Mister Teece." 

"You got one named Roll Dem 

"Goodbye, Misterl" 

"And another called Over Jordan! 
Hal Well, tote that rocket, boy, lift 
that rocket, boy, go on, get blown 
up, see if / care!" 

The car churned off into the dust 
The boy rose up and cupped his 
hands to his mouth and shouted one 
last time at Teece. "Mister Teece, 
Mister Teece, what you goin' to do 
nights from now on, what you goin' to 
do nights, Mister Teece?" 

Silence. The car faded down the 
road. It was gone. 

"What in hell did he mean?*' 
mused Teece. "What am I goin' to 
do nights?" 

He watched the dust settle and it 
suddenly came to him. 

He remembered nights when men 
drove to his house, their knees stick- 
ing up sharp and then- shotguns stick- 

ing up sharper, like a car full of 
cranes, under the night trees of sum- 
mer, their eyes mean. Honking the 
horn and him slamming his door, a 
gun in his hand, laughing to himself, 
his heart racing like a ten year old, 
driving off down the summer night 
road, a ring of hemp rope coiled on 
the car floor, fresh shell boxes making 
every man's coat look bunchy. How 
many nights over the years, how 
many nights of the wind rushing in 
the car, flopping their hair over their 
eyes, roaring, as they picked a tree, 
a good strong tree, and rapped on a 
shanty door I 

"So dial's what the son of a bitch 
meant?" Teece leaped out into the 
sunlight. "Come back, you bastard! 
What am I goin' to do nights, why 
that lousy, insolent son of a—" 

It was a good question. He sick- 
ened and was empty. Yes. What will 
we do nights? he thought. Now 
they're gone, what? He was absolute- 
ly empty and numb. 

He pulled the pistol from his 
pocket, checked its shells. 

"What you goin' to do, Sam?" 
someone asked. 

"Kill that son of a bitch!" 

Grandpa said, "Don't get yourself 

But Samuel Teece was gone around 
behind the store. A moment later he 
drove out the drive in his open-top 
car. "Anyone comin' with me?" 

"I'd like a drive," said Grandpa, 
and got up. 

"Anyone else?" 

Nobody replied. 

Grandpa got in and slammed the 
door. Samuel Teece gutted the car 



out in a great whorl of dust. They 
didn't speak as they rushed down 
the road under the bright sky. The 
heat from the dry meadows was shim- 

They stopped at a cross-roads. 
"Which way'd they go, Grandpa?" 

Grandpa squinted, "Straight on 
ahead, I figure.* 

They went on. Under the summer 
trees, their car made a lonely sound. 
The road was empty and as they 
drove along they began to notice 
something. Teece slowed the car and 
bent out, his yellow eyes fierce. 

"God damn it, Grandpa, you see 
what them bastards did?" 

"What?" asked Grandpa, and 

Where they had been carefully set 
down and left, in neat bundles every 
few feet along the empty country 
road, were old roller skates, a ban- 
dana full of knick-knacks, some old 
shoes, a cart-wheel, stacks of pants 
and coats and ancient hats, bits of 
Oriental crystal that had once tin- 
kled In the wind, tin cans of pink 

geraniums, dishes of waxed fruit, 
cartons of Confederate money, wash 
tubs, scrubboards, washlines, soap, 
somebody's tricycle, someone else's 
hedge-shears, a toy wagon, a jack-in- 
the-box, a stained-glass window from 
the Negro Baptist Church, a whole 
set of brake rims, inner tubes, mat- 
tresses, couches, rocking chairs, jars 
of cold cream, hand mirrors. None 
of it flung down, no, but deposited 
gently and with feeling, with decor- 
um, upon the dusty edges of the road, 
as if a whole city had walked here 
with hands full, at which time a great 
bronze trumpet had sounded, the ar- 
ticles had been relinquished to the 
quiet dust, and one and all, the in- 
habitants of the earth had fled 
straight up into the blue heavens. 

"Wouldn't burn them, they said," 
cried Teece angrily. "No, wouldn't 
burn them like I said, but had to 
take them along and leave them 
where they could see them for the 
last time, on the road, all together 
and whole. Them niggers think 
they're smart." 

He veered the car wildly, mile 
after mile, down the road, tumbling, 
smashing, breaking, scattering bun- 
dles of paper, jewel boxes, mirrors, 
chairs. "There, by damn, and there!" 

The front tire gave a whistling cry. 
The car spilled crazily off the road 
into a ditch, flinging Teece against 
the glass. 

"Son of a bitch." He dusted him- 
self off and stood out of the car, 
almost crying with rage. 

He looked at the silent empty 
road. "Well never catch them now, 
never, never." As far as he could see 



there was nothing but bundles and 
stacks and more bundles neatly 
placed like little abandoned shrines 
in the late day, in the warm blowing 

Teece and Grandpa came walking 
tiredly back to the hardware store an 
hour later. The men were still sitting 
there, listening, and watching the sky. 
Just as Teece sat down and eased 
his tight shoes off, someone cried, 
"Look I" 

"IH be damned if I will," said 

But the others looked, and they 
saw the golden bobbins rising in the 
sky, far away. Leaving flame behind, 
they vanished 

In the cotton fields, the wind blew 

idly among the snowclusters. In still 
further meadows the watermelons 
lay, unfingerprinted, striped as tor- 
toise cats lying in the sun. 

The men on the porch sat down, 
looked at each other, looked at the 
yellow rope piled neat on the store 
shelves, glanced at the gun shells 
glinting shiny brass in their cartons, 
saw the silver pistols and long black 
metal shotguns hung high and quiet 
in the shadows. Somebody put a 
straw in his mouth- Someone else 
drew a figure in the dust. 

Finally, Samuel Teece held his 
empty shoe up in triumph, turned it 
over, stared at it and said, "Did you 
notice? Right up to the very last, by 
God, he said 'Mister*/* 




latest reports m wkt m rasdm are dofuj. 
j dtis, smS we* awf pamMm fe ftt WgfeJ 

THE Sdentifilm Cycle is coming, fans! 
Plana in popping in Hollywood — aB 
over tht world — to fascinat* film-goer* 
with wonders out of this world ! Inevitably, 
an increasing number of outright fantasies 
will be produced too. 

First on the docket, as everyone by 
now must know, is DESTINATION 
MOON, the technicolor trip to our satel- 
lite. Laid in I960, this prophetic picture 
(adapted from Robt. HeinlebVi book, 
"Rocket Ship Galiieo") will soon be re- 
leased. A number of other interplanetary 
films wffl follow. RKO writer Kd Earl 
Repp, author of The Radium Pool" and 
TheStellar Missiles," has prepared a script 
entitled "Operation Luna." Academy award 
winner John Ford b interested m dome 
"Men of Man." 

Paramount owns the following proper- 
ties: "Rossum's Universal Robots," the or- 
iginal android play by Karel Capefc; "Food 
of the Gods," the adventure into giant size 
by H. G. Wells; "Tu« Island of Dr. Mor 
can," the evolutionary*™ of beasts-into- 
men, already once produced under the title 
of The Island of Lost Souls" with Chas. 
Laughton, worth either reviving or renlm- 
ing; Weils" famous invasion from Mars, 
"War of the Worlds"; M. P. Shield last- 
man-in-the-world classic, The Purple 
Cloud"; and an original, "SO Yean from 
Now," worked on by Philip Wylie and the 
lata science fiction author, Joe Skid mo re. 
Certainly "Dr. Cyclops,*' the Curt Siod- 
mak technicolor experience -in -small oess, is 
rtpt for revival. Fans— writs Paramount, 
■aging tht Ksbowing and production of 


your favorites of the foregoing titles. 

The King Bros., independent producers, 
own a property titled "Bandits on the 
Moon," the very antithesis of "Destination 
Moon," the former being a space-chase 
with ray-guns and all the trimmings, where- 
as the latter is a strictly matter-of-fact 
Moon movie. Delayed in production since 
1947, "Bandits on the Moon" will now no 
doubt go back on an early shooting sched- 
ule. It's to be a million dollar production. 
The King Bros, have also announced plans 
to produce an atomic prophecy entitled 

The famous date novel, "1984" by Geo. 
Orwell, having meteored to best-seller class 
and been successfully dramatized on the 
radio, will next be seen as a play. It is 
my prediction that it will be one of the 
hH films of 1951. 

Fritz Lang, the scientifilmaestro of "Me- 
tropolis" and "Girl in the Moon" fame, is 
scheduler! to direct a drama of the future 
titled "Tomorrow," an original screenplay 
by Sylvia Richards. (Sylvia adapted Love- 
craft's "Dunwich Horror" to the radio.) 
Lang also expressed, to your reporter, an 
interest in doing Lovecraft's "Shadow Over 
Inns-mouth," "The Machine to Kill" by 
Gaston Leroux, and van Vogt's SLANt 

Speaking of van Vogt, he and E. Mayne 
Hull have collaborated on a 22nd century 
television show, introducing a new char- 
acter of the future, Pell Melton. Two chap- 
ters have been filmed. Artwork by the 
prominent fan artist, Bill Rotsler. 

Edgar Rice Burroughs' immortal aperoan 
will next be seen in the jungle adventures 
of "Tarzan and the Golden Lion" and 
"Tarzan and the Slave Girl." 

Disney's plans include feature length 
fantasticartoons on "Peter Pan," "The 
Little People," "The Sword in the Stone" 
and "Alice in Wonderland.** There is the 
possibility of importation from France of 
a puppetoon version of "Alice," and a third 
version is scheduled for filming in England. 
The 4th — and original — version, with many 
American stars in rubberoid suits and mask 
(a la "Wizard of Oz") has been recently 
revived in several cities. There is a possi- 
bility of Margaret O'Brien doing "Wizard 
of Oz" on video. 

Ray Bradbury's prize-winning O. Henry 
Memorial Award fantasy, "Homecoming," 
may be televised this Hallowe'en. 

"Isle of Zorda" by Jules Verne has been 
' for production by Lippert. Abo 

the old master's "20,000 Leagues Under the 


Wm. Dieterle hopes to make "The Lonely 
Steeple," described as an American "Wuth- 
ering Heights." 

"Francis," the comedy of a talking mule, 
may be playing when you read this. 

A World Federalist in Hollywood has 
produced an amateur sound film in color 
showing Atoroigcddon as viewed from our 
satellite. It has been televised. 

In England, a fullength cartoon, "Amin 
and Aladdin's Lamp," has been produced, 
and may possibly be imported. 

A current import is "The Iron Crown," 
an Italian fantasy combining elements of 
Tarzan with the fable of Beauty and the 

From the pages of Saturday Evening 
Post is scheduled to come a /untasy film 
called "Morning Star" by John Spencer 

Intriguing is the word for the scheduled 
title, "Ladv in Space." 

James Mason and Ava Gardner have 
been mentioned as costars for the super- 
natural legend of "The Flying Dutchman." 

And what visions RKO's mysterious title 
conjures up: "Dead Planet"! 

Murray Lesnster tells me of television 
interest in bis "First Contact" (cartbmen 
meet interstellar men in deep space) and 
movie feelers towards his "Murder of the 
U. S. A." 

Curtis Harrington, producer of the sur- 
realist film "Youthful Narcissus,- fa seek- 
ing rights to production of Donald Wan- 
drei's Esquire fantasy, "The Eye and the 

Rene Lafayette reveals that his immor- 
tal character, Doc Methuselah, will be seen 
on the screen in an adaptation of his 
Astounding story, "Plague." 

Ray Harryhausen, the sdentifan who 
saw "King Kong" 75 times and then be- 
came chief animator himself on "Mighty 
Joe Young," is now busy on a hush-hush 
successor, "Land of the Mist." 

MGM, who did The Beginning or the 
End," is preparing to follow up with David 
Bradley's "No Place to Hide." Ate-miged- 
don, here we come I 

"The Apple Has Been Eaten," a fantasy 
of Adam and Eve, is a German film which 
may be playing the "art" theaters one of 
these days. Watch your local "little" cine- 
mas for these too: "Lucky Star" by Owen 
Rutter, a British firm about an island in 



the sky; "Baron Manchhausen," a Ger- 
man technicolor treat of fantastic adven- 
tures on the Moon ; "The Chips Are 
Down," a French existensionalist view of 
hit after death; and, if its rescue can be 
effected, a Bavarian thriller-— "Space Ship 
No. 1 Starts I* 

Fans should bring pressure at this time 
on 20th Century-Fox to revive its musi- 
comedy of a trip to Mars in I960, "lust 
(Imagine." An ideal companion revival 
would be 'Tt's Great to Be Alive" (when 
masculitis wipes out every man in the 
world but one, leaving the female popula- 
tion untouched— "JUST IMAGINE" ! ) 
Another scientifUm which 20th-Fox should 
be encouraged to revive is "6 Hours to 
Live," story of a scientific Lazarus. This 
might go well with the same star, Warner 
Baxter, in another film of the survival of 
personality. "Earthbound." 

Universal-International owns many sden- 
tifilm properties, and I feel it will not be 
long before they start to put them into 
production. Then we may look forward 
to such fascinating themes as a machine 
to foretell the future (Edwin Balmer's "The 
Billionaire") and the menace of the me- 
chanical man in Abner J. Gelula's Amazing 

I would not be at aB surprised to see 
revivals of "Donovan's Brain," The Devil 
Commands" (adapted from Wm. Sloane's 
Btf novel, "The Edge of Running Water"). 
"The Man They Could Not Hang," "The 
Man with 8 Lives," "The Invisible Ray" 
and perhaps Thome Smith's "Nite Life of 
the God's." 

MGM already has a great deal of foot- 
age shot on a full-scale fantasy titled 
"War Eagles," about an attack on New 
York by iocs and winged men ! Same studio 
owns a robot property, "Sasha Gerhart," 
in case Paramount should produce "RUR." 

RKO has two untitled scientifilms up its 
sleeve, one about a gigantic underground 
cavern beneath the United States, with an 
opening to the sea, and how a boatload 
of men, having harpooned a whale, are 
dragged to a lost world as the sea beast 
makes for its death waters; the other, 
a super adventure which may be made in 
Mexico — featuring a battle between a bull 
and a dinosaur I 

Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's" Mines 
has been announced for refUming. 

mer-WyBe classic, will not only be shot 

in technicolor but may feature a fabulous 
climax in Frescofifm, a 3-dinttnsional proc- 
tn without glasses! 

Paulette Goddard will star in Stein- 
beck's strange "Cup of Gold." Casting of 
her has also been announced for Thorne 
Smith's "Stray Lamb" and Aldous Hux- 
ley's "Brave New World"! 

If the sequence is retained In the final 
editing, "Jet Pilot" will show John Wayne 
being bmzed by a flying saucer I 

In England a jet pilot picture of the 
future is now playing a circuit of 3500 
theaters. One scene shows the jetter as a 
boy, reading a copy of NEW WORLDS 
(the OTHER WORLDS of across the 

In case you missed it, you may still 
have time to catch at the second run 
theaters an amusing scientifiim called "Free 
for All," about the synthesis out of seven 
simple substances of a piU that will turn 
water into gasoline ! The inventor gets into 
plenty of hot H2OI 

Chesley Bonestell, illustrator of "The 
Conquest of Space," would like to private- 
ly produce a black-and-white short subject 
concerning a trip to the Moon. 

"The Man from Another Star" is the title 
of a German-made comedy of s tourist of 
the Universe who makes the mistake of 
stopping on Earth (in modern Europe) 
without a passport, ration coupons, and 
all the rest of the vital paraphernalia 1 

Another German postwar fantasy is 
"The Strange Adventure of Mr. Fridolin 

And announced for production in Ger- 
many is a fantasy, "The Lost Face." 

"A Nite in the Life of the LASFS" fe 
being filmed, directed by fan Walt Daugh- 
erty, produced by fan Morrie Dollens. The 
LASFS is the Los Angeles Science Fantasy 
Socy, which in the past IS years has held 
over 600 meetings. Reenacted will be a 
typical meeting, showing such enthusiasts 
as A. E. van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Weaver 
Wright, E. Mayne Hull, Jean Cox, Wen- 
dayne Mondelle, E. Everett Evans, Russ 
Hodgkins, Ross Rocklynne, Alan and Fred- 
die Hershey, Bryce Walton and many 
others of the local group "in action" in the 
club room with its big library of prozines 
and its walls covered with original illustra- 
tions by Paul, Finlay, Bok, Cartier, and all 
the favorites. Film may be exhibited at the 
forthcoming "Norwescon," the 8th World 
Science Fiction Convention, to be held over 



Labor Day in Portland, Ore, 

A South Sea Island witch doctor inflicts 
his spells on New York in a musicomedy 
fantasy being written for Broadway en- 
titled "7 Days Wonder," 

Hiding- behind the innocuous title of 
"Spring" is an unusual Russian scientifiJm 
about the processing of power from the 

Scheduled for reissue is one of the top 
funtasy films of the past, "Here Comes 
Mr. Jordan," starring Claude Rains. The 
author of "Mr. Jordan" has done a new 
fantasy about an angel and an unborn 
child— Clifton Webb wi31 play the angel! 

"Marvin, the Successful Ghost," a This 
Week ghostory, will be filmed as a two- 
reeler by Warners. 

MGM will produce the unique Cosmo- 
politan story, "The Next Voice You Hear." 
The "Voice" is not Frank Sinatra but God, 
Jalking over the radio ! 

Faust rides again in "The Beauty of the 
Devil," being filmed in Italy by Bene 

The leprechaun play, "Fitiian's Rainbow," 
Is to be turned into a movie with Barry 

"The Legend of Good Women" will star 
Sonny Tufts as Hercules if Hollywood has 
its way. 

"Heigh -Ho, Broomstick," a story of 
witchcraft in Salem, may make a Hal- 
lowe'en debut in play form, 

A film which can be rented privately 
from A. F. Films of New York is titled 
"Fact and Fantasy" and revolves around 
5 scientific subjects, including space flight 
and perpetual motion. 

A future episode in RKO's "This Is 
America" series will feature werewolves, 
vampires, zombies, etc., ff enuf fantastic 
footage can be found. Dealing with Ameri- 
can superstitions, title will be "Hoodoo." 

The time-travel funtasy, "Boys from 
Syracuse," may be remade, this time in 

An ambitious play about reincarnation, 
Atlantis, etc.— "LilU Abi"— has just been 
finished in Hollywood by Louis Lovelace, 
and is being offered in the East. 

Nelson Bond is becoming well known on 
television. As TV shows are often kineto- 
scoped for future re-presentation, they 

somewhat qualify in the category of films. 
His "Conqueror's Isle," story of super- 
men on tlie Earth today, has been telecast, 
as have his ubiquitous "Lobblies," and the 
old Unknown favorite, "Cartwright's Cam- 
era." Republic Studios own his Blue Book 
fantasy, "The Magic Staircase." 

H. G. Wells' immortal "Time Machine" 
has twice appeared in elaborate video form 
in England. 

Algernon Blackwood himself has just 
finished working on a series of 6 of his 
short fantastic stories at Wembley Studios 
in England. 

Culled from recent publicity releases 
are the following titles, which columnists 
say are scheduled for production. Several 
will undoubtedly be serials. I am skeptical 
that all the titles will ever reach the 
screen ; nevertheless, where there's smoke 
there's liable to be a pillar of fire — sup- 
porting a rocket! Here are the titles: 
"Rocket Men Are Coming," "Rocket Man 
on the Moon," "King of the Rocket Men," 
"Rocket Men on Mars," "Rocket to the 
Moon" and "Trip to the Moon" (the latter 
supposed to be based on the original Jules 
Verne novel, and to be filmed partly in 
France, partly in Holland and partly in 
the USA). There is also "The Disc Men 
Are Coming." 

Just as the science fiction magazine is re- 
placing the mystery pulp, as the detective 
book is giving way to the stf novel, as 
tales of other worlds are appearing with 
increasing frequency on the air (William- 
son's "With Folded Hands" and Leinster's 
"First Contact** are scheduled on NBC, 
and the Satevepost "Outer Limit" saucer 
story was recently broadcast) ; so scientific - 
tion is now spreading like wildfire to the 
screen. Under consideration for filming are 
A Merritt's "The Fox Woman," Hugo 
Gernsback's "Ralph 124C41 + ," Heinlein'a 
"Waldo" and "Magic, Inc. " Wm. Temple's 
"Four-Sided Triangle" and Oscar Friend's 
"Kid from Mars" (wouldn't Danny Kaye 
be terrific in the rdle?) "The Big Eye** 
has also been rumored for both radio and 

It is not beyond the bounds of believe- 
abitity that one of your favorite stories 
from OTHER WORLDS will one day be 
filmed I 


Bert Lang 

You were so right Dear DevU h one of 
the tenderest (tones I have ever read with 
the possible exception of Only A Mother 
'which appeared m ASF some time ago. 
Eric Frank Russell must be a genius to 
turn a monstrous, ugly being into a creature 
of compassion, love and beauty. 

In War Of Nerves the bird beings are 
hazy and so is the story. This story is defi- 
nitely not the van Vogt best, 

. . . And AS For One has a decidedly 
Afferent twist. TJghl I will always have 
an aversion to fat meat. 

Do you want me to avoid women, espe- 
cially beautiful ones? Portrait 0} Narcissus 
scares the heck out of me. 

Edmund Latimer's Milking Machine is a 
fairly good yarn but I find it easy to forget. 

Colossus is very good. Although I do not 
particularly like "explanation" type stories, 
this one is very well written and shows 
great promise for the forthcoming Co~ 

I like stories about the conquest of space. 

P. O. Box 2J4, 
SchoolfieM, Va. 

In the following letter, your opinion of 
Colossus is reversed. You might find a dif- 
ference of opinion interesting m the light of 
your use of the word "explanation.'' — Rap. 

Don Bnfbee 

I enjoy reading OTHER WORLDS very 
much. However, I was disappointed and 
distressed when I read the story, Colossus 
by S. J, Byrne. It was a very good story, 
but how did the obvious socialistic-com- 
munistic propaganda slip by you or your 
managing editor? I cannot believe that you 
published it intentionally. 

I am an industrial editor, and much infor- 
mation as well as examples of the "party- 
line" comes across my desk. Industrial edi- 
tors throughout the nation are combatting 
the socialistic trend toward the "welfare" 
or "nationalized" state. We perhaps better 
than any others can see the effects upon 
our workers of the empty promises, and 
the false hopes which are offered them. 
The readers of science fiction are particu- 


lariy vulnerable to propaganda, either good 
or bad. A majority of the fans, by their 
very interest in science fiction, are dreamers 
and visionaries, and, as such, inclined to be 
somewhat impractical. I hope I don't see 
any more socialistic propaganda in OTHER 

Not only did I object to the propaganda 
as such, but it was clumsy. It weakened 
the structure of an otherwise excellent 
story. In the first place, such a universali- 
zation of social enterprises could not exist 
without regimentation. In the second, when 
have "trade guilds" ever produced sufficient 
goods without incentive? Actually in the 
light of present and past events, Mr. Byrnes' 
concept of a socialistic "Utopia" is abso- 
lutely cockeyed. 

If such as he describes ever came to pass, 
there would be no authors— only state con- 
trolled propagandists — no science fiction, 
for it would not contribute anything to 
the state. 

R. R, 1, Box 273A 
Plainfield, Indiana 

First, Mr. Bugbee, nothing sUpped by us. 
Nor did we insert anything intentionally. 
Since science fiction began, its authors have 
depicted imaginary worlds of the future. 
They DID depict the Great Britain of to- 
day, and the Russia of today. They wrote 
stories of Utopias, and long ago decided 
they were impractical. You are just behind 
the times on that. 

As for readers of science fiction being 
particularly vulnerable to propaganda, good 
and bad, nothing could be further from the 
truth. Of any popular reading group in the 
world, the sf fan is the least susceptible to 
having his thinking done for him. That's 
why he reads science fiction I 

There is a great danger hi misunderstand- 
ing words. Community does not mean 
communism. Mr. Byrne, who uses the 
word, is branded by you as a purveyor of 
on "obvious party-line.'* In short, you are 
calling him a red and saying he is subver- 
sive. We know Mr. Byrne personalty, and 
he is NOT even pink. Be is working loyal- 
ly now, on Guam, for the Nation of which 
he h proud, the good old VSA. 


/( is Mfpetkible that your President does 
not seem to be combatting the trend toward 
the "welfare" slate you mention. 

I am sure that our readers will resent 
being called dreamers and visionaries. Cer- 
tainly that they are impractical. If you but 
knew how impractical. Today the editorial 
offices are. fdied with those same impracti- 
cal fans who now edit, publish, and run the 
magazines they once read. If you can name 
one editor who isn't, we'd be right glad to 
know his name. It seems to us they were 
Practical enough to go out and gain control 
and earn very good livings in their dreams 
and visions. 

Naturally we don't argue politics in 
OTHER WORLDS, even though our writ- 
ers are free to envision any sort of imagi- 
nary world of the future they care to — and 
point out its weaknesses and its strengths — 
but we might mention the Co-Ops, espe- 
cially in Wisconsin, which are really trade 
guilds, and they are doing a marvelous fob 
of keeping prices down among the people 
who are facing real financial problems. The 
incentive to achieve a thing has nothing to 
do with politics, but with personal needs 
and desires. It's the dreamers who dream 
the dreams that the workers bring about. 
We all dream of a perfect civilization where 
happiness and free from want and fear is a 
reality. Today there is no freedom any- 
where in the world from fear. Perhaps not 
even our writers can imagine the real rea- 
son — but certainly it is not because of any 
•group of well-meaning people working to- 
gether for the common good. 

The only way we could prevent wltat you 
so greatly fear would be to edit every so- 
ciological opinion out of our magazine — 
which seems to us to be dictatorship of the 
worst sort. OTHER WORLDS— controlled 
propaganda, you might call it, and we 
doubt if it would contribute anything to 
the state /—Rap. 

John C. Strole 

When OTHER WORLDS hit the news- 
stand I decided it was going to be another 
cheap FANTASY and S. F. pulp mag, with 
the accept on pure fantasy, but I felt what 
could I lose ? Previously only ASF would 
satisfy my desire for top-grade science fic- 
tion. Pleasant surprise ! January : fair. 
March: good. May: even better. I sug- 
gest you start a department such as The 

Analytical Laboratory. Your overall quality 
approaches very (josely that of ASF. Keep 
it up. 

18 Cooper Place, 
Wceliawken, N. J. 

Beginning with the October issue, we'll 
institute a department which will let you 
know how the stones and articles rated. 
We'll try to dream up something practical 
and interesting. 

D. Bruce Berry 

Dear Ray. I'm being personal, see? I 
figure I can do it because I have followed 
your work ever since you started editing 
Amazing Stories. Th*t shows you some- 
thing of how long I'vfl been reading science 
fiction. Sixteen years, to be exact. That 
rates me an old-timer. 

During that time, I wrote to you only 
once. That was to object to the slaying of 
Martin Brand. It was a short letter of fifty 
words (or around that) and you placed it 
at the top of the readers" column. So now 
you are reviving Brand. Swell! And he 
bad better be alive! 

This breaking of my Iqng silence is to 
serve a twofold purpose, though. The sec- 
ond item is this: You have mentioned 
that you are turning out a sister magazine 
to OTHER WORLDS. Stop! Hold the 
presses ! I would have a fatherly chat with 

Your present mag is tops. It is working 
its way toward being the answer to the 
readers' prayer. There is only one fault 
with it. It is not a monthly. Now, instead 
of adding to your woes and confusion by 
dividing your time between two mags, why 
not make OTHER WORLDS a monthly 
publication? In this manner you could 
devote your time to turning out a superior 
mag (which you have). Remember the 
worth of a perfect jewel is in its rarity. 

1438 Madison Street, 
Oakland 12, Calif. 

Well, this issue ought to make you happy. 
Brand is here, and alive I 

As for our new magazine, it will come 
out August 1. Also, OTHER WORLDS 
SIX WEEKS with its October issue. And 
eventually it wilt become monthly. You 
get all that and the new tnagaaine too. And 
the new masasine wilt come out monthly 



eventually also. You readers have shown 
us you'll read a good magazine, and we're 
going to give you two of them. Lord 
knows tke field needs it I — Rap. 

Bill (Bill Who?) 

The covers get better and better. The 
stories get better and better. The illustra- 
tions get better and better. The depart- 
ments get better and more so. And the edi- 
torials ... Oh my! It's a pleasure and a 
big charge just to read them. I must say 
you deserve a pat on the back for breaking 
away from the old dry policy of reviewing 
a current scientific development in the so- 
calkd editorials and filling 'em with some 
good ol' babblings of Ye Ed., and drollery. 

There is, however, one field in which a 
competitor is beating you out. I'm refer- 
ring to that new magazine, FUTURE AND 
they are offering $2.00 per letter published. 
Much as I enjoy writing to you and the 
other mags, when one progressive editor 
offers payment for fan-letters — welt, who- 
ever beard of a fan who couldn't use two 
bucks ? I feel the time is ripe to call a letter- 
strike, organizing the letter writing fans to 
refrain from writing to any mag that does 
not pay for letters. Only one trouble . . . 
some cold blooded editor might reciprocate 
by deleting the letter column altogether. 
You wouldn't do tbat, would you Rap, dear 

AH foolishment aside, let's see how the 
last ish looked. What an excellent cover ! 
Seems to me that other mags might do 
well to emulate your policy and keep those 
naked dames off the covers. Next, I think 
you deserve another laurel-wreath for not 
using tbat rough-cut edge on your mags. I 
must complain to Merwin about this — some 
mags scatter confetti all over the floor from 
those masticated edges as you read 'em. 
Makes your clothes look a mess too. An- 
other thing: I disagree with Ed Wood on 
the qaulity of paper you use. My experi- 
ence is that OTHER WORLDS says to- 
gether where other mags are coming apart 
at the seams. The pages stay in, too. Mi- 
raculous but true. 

And one last ululation. Don't know if 
anyone mentioned it before, but boy-o-boy t 
no ads cluttering up the back of the book. 
Tbass wunnerfulf How can you do it? 
But it's great to wade through a story 
without having ads by the Rosicrucians and 

Charles Atlas cluttering up your train of 
thought. And say, that is a good feature 
about Destination Moon. Give us some 
more info on big events like that. Like a 
feature on the coming Norwtscon. 

32 Park Place, R. D. #4 
Pittsbtirgh 9, Pa. 

Now, Bill. . . There are quite a few rea- 
sons why we don't think it's wise to pay 
$2.00 for letters. First, we want to know 
that our readers are writing what they 
write became they want to let us know 
what they think about the magazine, actu- 
ally, and not just to make two bucks. Sec- 
ond, we certainly don't have to bribe our 
readers to write in — we get hundreds of 
letters we can't find room to print. Third, 
we once offered to pay for letters in Amaz- 
ing Stories, and we actually got fewer let- 
ters! You see, our readers are of the same 
mind we are. 

As for naked dames on our cover, we cer- 
tainly aren't going to -make them a policy. 
The present cover, and the coming Septem- 
ber cover represent what we think real 
science fiction covers should be — but we'll 
present a Mac Girl when we get one— and 
we've got one— because she's just too darn 
beautiful not to print. There's a difference, 
you know. When McCauley paints a Mac 
Girl, it's like a Petty in Esquire, as against 
a Superwoman in a comic book. 

Glad you like our no-confetti- spreading 
magazine's edges. We always swore at the 
delay in turning the page at an exciting 
passage, and many's the time we tore the 

thumb and zing, there you are I 

Oh Bill. . . . Now we've got a Rosicrucian 
ad and a couple other ads. Hope you won't 
be mad at us, but when we tell you they 
helped pay for that front cover . . . Any- 
way, you won't see any Scabby Foot ads. 

As for that feature on the Norwescon, 
you got something, pall We'll get right on 
the ball. October issue, coming up! With 
no time to spare! — Rap. 

s Rog«r N. Dard 

I read the first issue of your publication 
some time ago, and although it was inter- 
esting enough, I felt it did not come up to 
my expectations. I did not see number 2, 



but just recently number 3 arrived, and I 
was amazed at the tremendous improve- 
ment. As a result, my disinterest has now 
changed to one of enthusiasm. 

By far the best feature of the entire 
publication is your editorial. I do not 
know if you are aware of it or not, Mr. 
Palmer, but your editorials are revolution- 
ary. Their candor, your complete lack of 
fear or favor, the way you name names, 

and criticize and praise your competitors is 

nothing short of staggering. Another fea- 
ture greatly appreciated is the Personalt 
page. Once again, you are first into the 
field with a free service to your readers. The 
pocket size, however, does not appeal to me. 
232 James Street, 
Perth, Western Australia, 

When ends Letters for this month.— Rap. 


ATTENTION: Anyone with information 
as to the present whereabouts of David A. 
Maclnnes please notify Don Ford, 129 
Maple, Sharonville, Ohio. Maclnnes was 
last heard of in Sandy Springs, Maryland 
and is now believed to be in Canada, 
presumably Toronto . . . Burton R. Terrell, 
Pekin, Ind. would like to hear from anyone 
who has seen flying disks or believes that 
invisible beings walk the earth . . . Roger 
Nelson, 627 Robinson, San Diego, Calif, 
has a collection of stf and fantasy books 
which he is selling 3/$l and has some 
magazines to sell or trade. He wants 
copies of books by Cummings, Wheatley, 
Kline, Stapledon and Merritt . . . Guy A. 
Gossclin, Gorham, N. Hamp. wants to 
correspond with amateur astronomers . . . 
Carl H. Geist, 2323 W. Ainslie St., Chica- 
go 25, 111. has for sale Unknown Worlds 
1948 Anthology, AS March thru Sept. 1948, 
FA Oct. '44, Mar. '48, May thru Sept. '48 
and the first 8 issues starting May, 1939 
. . . Fans wishing to join The Science- 
Fantasy Society write to Calvin T. Beck, 
Box 877, Grand Central Station, New York 
17, N. Y. If you live in or near Cleveland, 
O., ask Cal for information on the Cleve- 
land chapter of the S.F.S. ... The Uni- 
versal Musketeers, an up-and-coming fan 
club announces that it has a free library 
for the use of members, as well as five 
fanzines which all members receive free. 
Interested fans should write Ronald Fried- 
man, 1980 E. 8th St., Brooklyn 23, N. Y. 
If you live in the vicinity of Norfolk, 
Suffolk, Newport News, Richmond or Tide- 
water, Virginia get in touch with Jack 
Schwab, 58 Greene Blvd., Portsmouth, Va. 
. . . Wanted, by F. J. Ackerman, 236# 
N. New Hampshire, Hollywood 4, Calif., 
Canadian WT 'SS-'iS; Science & Invention, 

Aug. '23, Dec. '24; stills from The Sky 
Splitter, Just Imagine, Metropolis, Our 
Heavenly Bodies, By Rocket to the Moon, 
Mysterious Island, RUR, High Treason, 
First Men in the Moon; addresses of Slater 
LaMaster, Albert DePina, Cordwainet 
Smith, Ree Dragonette, Leslie Rubenstein, 
Evi Detring-Nathan, Andrew Lenard, 
Eleanor McGeary; issues of Orchideen- 
garten, Thrill Book, Fantastica, Shuster 
& Siegel's Science Fiction, first 2 yrs. Buck 
Rogers Sunday strips; any gold or silver 
artwork by Paul; Science Fiction League 
lapel emblem; Science Fiction Ass'ri. rock- 
et tie; $1,000,000 to keep up with science- 
fiction . . . Will trade Weapon Makers, 
Outsider, Futuria Fantasia, Acolytes, Worm 
Ouroboros, Fantazius Mallare for — what 
rarities have you? The Case of the Baroque 
Baby Killer: Bradbury, 5c; The Mystery 
of the 33 Stolen Idiots: Keller, 50c Invasion 
from Mars text; Welles, 15c; Monsters of 
the Moon, Scientifilmemento, 25c ; Fan 
Artists Portfolio, 75c; Bok Artfolio, $1.50. 
Contact Weaver Wright, Box 6151 Metro 
Station, Los Angeles 55, Calif. . . . Mrs. 
June Leeds Moore, 1112 Turk Street, San 
Francisco 15, Calif, would like pen pals 
who are interested in metaphysics . . . Tom 
Moulton, 15 Ford way Ave., Blackpool, 
Lancashire, England will exchange English 
fantasy books for back issues of Fate, 
Other Worlds, and other stf magazines 
. . . Wanted: Reports on Flying Saucers. 
Readers who have seen mysterious objects 
in the sky, and who can report accurate 
details, please send your report to Robert 
N. Webster, editor FATE, 1144 Ashland, 
Evanston, Illinois . . . This is your column; 
send in your personals for publication, on 
any subject. Exchange penpals— or heads. 
Anything goes. 




"T'T THENCE came the knowledge that built the Pyramids end the mighty 
W/ Temples of the Pharaohs? Civilization began in the Nile Valley centuries 
ago. Where did its first builders acquire their astounding wisdom that 
started man on bis upward climb? Beginning with naught they overcame nature's 
forces and gave the world its first sciences and arts. Did their knowledge come from 
a race now submerged beneath the sea, or were they touched with Infinite inspira- 
tion? From what concealed source came the wisdom that produced such characters as 
Amenhotep XV, Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, and a host of others? 

Today it is friown that they discovered and learned to interpret certain Secret Methods 
for tho development of their inner power of mind. They learned to command the 
Inner forces within their own beings, and to master life. This secret art of living has 
been preserved and handed down throughout the ages. Today it is extended to those 
who dare to use its profound principles to meet and solve the problems of life i» 
these complex times. 

Has life brought you that personal satisfaction, the sense of achievement and happi- 
ness that you desire? If not, it is your duty to yourself to learn about this rational 
method of applying natural laws for the mastery of life. To the thoughtful person 
It is obvious that everyone cannot be entrusted with an intimate knowledge of the 
mysteries of fife, for everyone is not capable of properly using it. But if you are one 
of those possessed of a true desire to forge ahead and wish to make use of the subtle 
Influences of life, the Rosicrucians (not a religious organization) will send you A 
Sealed Book of explanation without obligation. This Sealed Book tells how you, in 
tho privacy of your own home, without interference with your personal affairs off 
manner of living, may receive these secret teachings. Not weird or strange practices; 

but a rational application of the basic laws of Bfe. For your complimentary copy 
address your request to: Scribe T. K. M. 

This Sealed Book— FREE 

9Be Rosicrucians 


(A MO sie) 





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Out Of Your Bogey Bank 

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Claris Publishing Company, 1144 Ashland Avwwe, EvanikM, 1 

I wbh to wbtcrfte to OTHER WORtDS for (chodc .qvar* 

□ 12 mm □ 24 Ium 

W.oo woo 

Enckned k Q □ □ IIMn *r 9r ^* T ? 

Begin my tubccrlptioa witk tb* itsvo. 

Pictured below is the jamous art- 
ist, J. Allen St. John, whose in- 
spired pictorial representations oj 
Tarzan and John Carter helped 
skyrocket Burroughs' stories to 
fame. The illustration is the fron- 
tispiece jor "Tarzan and The 
Golden Lion.' 1 

The picture above is the last ever taken oj 
Edgar Rice Burroughs. The group depicts 
(left to right) Vernell Coriell, a well-known 
Burroughs fan; Mike Pierce, Burroughs' 
grandson; Lex Barker, newest of the film 
Tarzans, and (sealed) Edgar Rice Bur- 

Tars Tarkas and his green men, the red 
men of Helium, the headless Rykors, the 
Holy Therns, the Black Pirates, Thoats, 
Zitidars, Dejah Thoris and John Carter, 
Warlord of Barsoom. The last of the 
Martian series, Skeleton Men of Jupiter, 
was never completed. The third popular 
creation in the Burroughs saga is the 
Pellucidar series featuring David Innes. 
Carson of Venus is another newer sci- 
ence fiction hero. In addition to all these, Burroughs wrote at least three other books 
that stand out as classics of fantasy. And now the world has learned that Tarzan's 
creator is dead. It has come as a shock to millions of his readers, young and old, be- 
cause they had almost come to hope he was immortal, like his own fantastic creations. 
Edgar Rice Burroughs will always be considered as an outstanding example of what 
may be accomplished with the opportunities of the American way of life. He took 
merely his incredible imagination and with it earned a fortune of over ten million dol- 
lars. Burroughs never claimed that his stories had any great literary value. He was 
modest to a fault. An editorial in ForTune said that "some of his stories are not so hot, 
but they sell — an argument that admits of no rebuttal." When asked about his rules 
for writing back in 1945, he replied: "In all these years I have not learned one single 
rule for writing fiction or anything else. I ^fill write as I did thirty years ago; stories 
which I feel would entertain me and give me mental relaxation, knowing that there 
are millions of people just like me who will like the same things that I like." Therein 
lies his greatest achievement — he has entertained and relaxed billions of people and 
the world is the better for it! 


Do you wonder if there is life on Mars? 
What is the truth about Spiritualism? Is there 
really a life after death? What new dis- 
coveries are being made by scientists about 
mental telepathy — ghosts — other planets — : 
insanity — extra-sensory-perception — forecast- 
ing the future ? What do people really believe 
in, but are afraid to admit because of fear of 
ridicule or even worse? Do the stars really 
determine your future? What is a mystic? 
What secrets lie in Tibet — in Big Business- 
in Russia? Where did Man really come 
from ? Have you ever attended a seance ? Do 
dreams really mean something? 


ER IN 1 



Here is the most fascinating, most entertain-,' 
ing, most sensational little magazine ever to" 
appear on the newsstands of America. Noth-t* 
ing is sacred to it. Nothing is suppressed oi; 
distorted. It is exciting, weird, unusual, 
thought-provoking, stimulating. And mosjj 
important of all, it gives you the right to do 
your own thinking, and provides you witlj 
all the factors, both true and untrue; for yoif I 
to sift for yourself. Nowhere else can youj 
find such a treasure-house of the unusual) 
the strange, the unknown.